Chairman Jay Clayton

Previous SEC Positions:

Jay Clayton was nominated to chair the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on January 20, 2017 by President Donald Trump and sworn in on May 4, 2017.

The Commission Under Chairman Clayton

  • Furthering the interests of America’s Main Street investors – long a priority of the SEC staff Read More [+]
    • Establishing the Retail Strategy Task Force within the Enforcement Division, which develops proactive, targeted initiatives to identify misconduct impacting Main Street investors
    • Updating and enhancing the standards of conduct governing broker-dealers and investment advisers when providing advice to retail customers
    • Increasing public engagement around the country through roundtables and town halls with Main Street investors
    • Educating investors on the importance of saving and investing wisely, and creating a new online search tool for retail investors to research their financial professionals
  • Updating and enhancing the regulation and oversight of our equity and fixed income markets, taking into account advances in technology and increased interconnectedness Read More [+]
  • Making our capital markets, particular our public capital markets, more accessible to businesses and investors, ensuring that the United States continues to be the world’s leader in terms of transparency, effective disclosure and investor protection Read More [+]

The Commission’s rulemaking since 2017 and current rulemaking agenda reflect these areas of focus.[1]  

These areas of focus also are reflected in the Commission’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan,[2] which also discusses the importance of investing in and developing the Commission’s human capital. A point of emphasis made by Chairman Clayton is that the SEC’s people —its human capital—are the agency’s most important resource. Over the past several years, they have moved the Commission forward in the face of ever-changing markets as well as well-known and emerging risks. A key priority for Chairman Clayton is to continue to invest in and develop the SEC’s human capital.

Under Chairman Clayton, the SEC also has addressed various market developments, including with respect to:

  • securities law issues related to distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings;[3]
  • assessing and planning for the potential adverse effects on U.S. capital markets from Brexit, including a possible “no-deal” Brexit;[4]
  • cybersecurity and the reliance of companies and our financial system on information technology, and the resulting vulnerabilities to cyberattacks and cyber outages and the need for operational resiliency;[5] and
  • modernizing the SEC’s public company disclosure requirements and guidance to reflect changes in our economy and markets, including in the area of human capital disclosure.[6]

Background, Education and Experience

Chairman Clayton was born at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia and was raised primarily in central and southeastern Pennsylvania. In his professional career, he has lived in Philadelphia, New York, London, and Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the Commission, Chairman Clayton was a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where he was a member of the firm’s Management Committee and co-head of the firm’s corporate practice. From 2009 to 2017, Chairman Clayton was a Lecturer in Law and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Prior to joining Sullivan & Cromwell, Chairman Clayton served as a law clerk for the Honorable Marvin Katz of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A member of the New York and Washington, D.C. bars, Chairman Clayton earned a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude), a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Cambridge (Thouron Scholar), and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (cum laude, Order of the Coif).


[5] See, e.g., See Press Release 2017-170, SEC Chairman Clayton Issues Statement on Cybersecurity:  Discloses the Commission's Cyber Risk Profile, Discusses Intrusions at the Commission, and Reviews the Commission's Approach to Oversight and Enforcement (Sept. 20, 2017); Statement on Cybersecurity (Sept. 20, 2017); Testimony on “Examining the SEC's Agenda, Operation, and Budget” (Oct. 4, 2017); SEC Adopts Statement and Interpretive Guidance on Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosures (Feb. 21, 2018); SEC Rulemaking Over the Past Year, the Road Ahead and Challenges Posed by Brexit, LIBOR Transition and Cybersecurity Risks (Dec. 6, 2018).