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It seemed, at times, that Donald Trump’s Securities and Exchange Commission under Jay Clayton didn’t really do very much at all. New SEC chief Gary Gensler begs to differ: In his eyes, they did far, far too much.

Among the regulations that the SEC plans to revisit are amendments to its whistleblower award program and a rule requiring oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments.

These latest decisions to undo all of their not-so-good work over the last four years understandably didn’t sit well with the SEC’s remaining Republican commissioners.

The SEC’s two Republican commissioners criticized the agenda for reopening the rule-making process on already completed regulations, and for not tackling other issues, like clarifying the agency’s oversight of digital assets.

“Perhaps the absence of these rules is attributable to the regrettable decision to spend our scarce resources to undo a number of rules the commission just adopted,” commissioners Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman said.

To which Gensler can only say, be careful what you wish for.

In addition to reviewing a number of Trump-era rules, the agency said it would draft rules on environmental, social and governance-related investing, and on disclosures by companies on cybersecurity risks.

[Renee] Jones will oversee a division of more than 400 lawyers and accountants that draft rules for companies raising capital and disclosing material news and events to shareholders. The division has a leading role in drafting a planned rule proposal that would require public companies to reveal more about the risks and impacts of climate change on their business...

In an essay published in 2017, Ms. Jones wrote that private companies valued over $1 billion had been able to escape “governance structures and practices appropriate for enterprises of their scale.” She partly blamed deregulatory measures, some of them mandated by Congress, which made going public “increasingly obsolete.”

“Investors and policy makers must take steps to address the problem of unaccountable unicorns,” she wrote in the essay, published in the online University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

That said, on the matter of digital assets, Peirce and Roisman do have a point, although it might also be pointed out that they were too busy imposing shareholder plutocracy, capriciousness in whistleblower awards and hedge fund opacitynot always effectively, if we’re talking about wasted hours and regrettable decisions on how to spend scarce resources—to do much about crypto when they themselves had the chance.

The SEC has released its 2021 regulatory agenda and has left Bitcoin and cryptocurrency out…. This is relatively surprising given the SEC Chair's comments on crypto and how he would like to see more regulation.

SEC Considers Changes to Trump-Era Rules [WSJ]
SEC Picks Professor Who Criticized Startup ‘Unicorns’ as Top Corporate Regulator [WSJ]
The SEC Has No Plans To Regulate Bitcoin in 2021 [TheStreet]

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