SEC Chairman-Designate Pretty Much Gonna Take His First Year On The Job Off

Jay Clayton is going to give a new meaning to "passive management"
Wait, what? (Sullivan & Cromwell)

(Sullivan & Cromwell)

If you listen closely enough, you can hear the sighs of relief from the White House or Mar-a-Lago or wherever President Trump happens to be avidly scanning the right-wing blogosphere for something to tweet about: In spite of reports to the contrary, his pick to lead the SEC has more than enough conflicts of interest to fit in with his colleagues in the new administration.

Jay Clayton, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP whose Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for March 23, also has investments in a long list of private-equity funds managed by firms such as Warburg Pincus LLC, Bain Capital, and J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC. His law firm’s clients have included Ally Financial Inc., Barclays PLC, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Deutsche Bank AG, the financial disclosure report said….

Mr. Clayton’s wife, Gretchen Butler Clayton, is a financial adviser at Goldman Sachs. The form doesn’t reveal her income, but says she owns between $100,001 and $250,000 in restricted stock that was likely part of her past compensation.

What a relief. Still, unlike some members of Team Trump, Clayton acknowledges that the above make for some pretty bad optics. So he’s going to recuse himself—hopefully with Trump’s permission, lest he spark a new incoherent and misspelling-laden tweet-storm—from anything having to do with his old firm or his old clients for a year. Since that includes just about everyone who might have dealings before the SEC, Clayton will have plenty of time to sell off all those potentially problematic investments.

Clayton also promised to divest, within 90 days of confirmation, from 176 assets collectively worth millions of dollars.

SEC Chair Nominee Clayton’s Ethics Report Reveals Possible Conflicts [WSJ]
SEC nominee Clayon vows separation from his Wall Street law firm [Reuters]