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Industry on Alert as Speculation Grows on Who Will Fill Top SEC Post

Since SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White announced that she would leave the agency at the end of President Obama’s presidency, the industry has been speculating on who will be the agency’s
next chair. On December 6, 2016 The Wall Street Journal reported that Debra Wong Yang, a former U.S. attorney who is currently a partner at an international law firm, is being considered for the job and met with the President-Elect Trump. Among other top possible candidates mentioned are Paul Atkins, an SEC commissioner from 2002-2008 and now head of his own regulatory consulting business. Atkins has been a leader in President-Elect Trump’s financial transition team and also met with Trump recently. But according to a Financial Times report , Atkins has expressed interest in becoming the vice-chairman of supervision at the Federal Reserve. Other names floated as possible replacements for Chair White include: Daniel Gallagher, a former SEC commissioner and counsel to Atkins; Michael Piwowar, the current Republican SEC commissioner; Ralph Ferrara, a former SEC general counsel and white-collar defense attorney; and Anthony Scaramucci, founder of hedge fund SkyBridge Capital. Two commissioner spots remain open at the SEC and on December 1, 2016 Senator Richard Shelby, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said he is leaving open the possibility that the two vacant seats might be filled by the end of the current Congress. The nominations of Hester Peirce and Lisa Fairfax have been languishing since the Committee approved them in May 2016.