Oral Testimony of Gary Gensler Before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Washington D.C.

Good morning, Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Scott, and members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to testify today. As is customary, I’d like to note that my views are my own as Chair of the SEC, and I am not speaking on behalf of my fellow Commissioners or the SEC staff.

For 90 years, the federal securities laws and our work to oversee them have played a crucial role for the public both in good times and in times of stress. The core principles of U.S. securities markets regulation have contributed to America’s economic success and geopolitical standing.

At this remarkable agency, we serve investors building for a better future and issuers raising money to fund innovation, while overseeing the $100 trillion capital markets where they meet. The essence of this is captured in our three-part mission to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.

The SEC is the cop on the beat watching out for your constituents. The dedicated staff of this agency does extraordinary work with limited resources. In the face of significant growth in registrants, more involvement in our markets from individual investors, and increased complexity, the SEC’s headcount actually shrank from 2016 through last year. This year, we are expected to be approximately three percent larger than FY 2016.

America is blessed with the largest, most sophisticated, and most innovative capital markets in the world. But we cannot take this for granted. Even a gold medalist must keep training.

That’s why we’re updating our rules for the technology and business models of the 2020s. My written testimony details those efforts, and I’m sure I’ll get questions on this rule or that. But I’d like to put it all in context.

We’re updating our rules to promote the efficiency, integrity, and resiliency of the markets. We do so with an eye toward investors and issuers alike, to ensure the markets work for them and not the other way around.

We are working to help lower costs, increase access, and promote financial stability.

Each of the proposals we’ve made in the last two years further our three-part mission and are based upon authorities granted by Congress. Our Division of Economic and Risk Analysis provides robust economic analyses, which consider costs and benefits as well as effects on efficiency, competition, and capital formation.

We greatly benefit from public input regarding the economics, the policies themselves, and the SEC’s legal authorities. In the last two years, we have provided the public ample time to comment, with an average of 70 days to comment from the time a proposal is published on our website. Since January 2022, the minimum is 60 days with some as long as 100-plus days from the website posting.

When comment periods close, we often continue to get additional comments, through meetings and otherwise, which staff has considered as well.

Based on the public feedback, the staff and the Commission consider possible adjustments to the proposals and whether it’s appropriate to move forward to a final adoption. This process generally takes 12-24 months, and we move to adopt rules only when the staff and the Commission think they are ready to be considered. We’re focused on getting things right—based upon the economics, the Commission’s legal authorities, and promoting the SEC’s mission—not the clock.

The SEC now has issued proposals for most of the unified agenda we laid out in the spring of 2021. We have finalized 22 rulemakings, nearly all of which have changed based on public feedback.

I am grateful to work alongside this remarkable staff and my fellow Commissioners to promote the efficiency, integrity, and resiliency of the markets.

Last Reviewed or Updated: Sept. 12, 2023