Hearings before the Senate Banking Committee were held on the two nominees to the SEC on Thrusday, June 27. The nominees include Kara Stein (her bio is here) and Mike Piwowar (his bio is here). Ms. Stein is a lawyer and is replacing Commissioner Walter. Mr. Piwower is an economist and replacing Commissioner Paredes. Both have experience on the Hill.
At the hearing, Senator Jack Reed introduced Ms. Stein (including mentioning that her background included working as a law professor). He indicated that she has the expertise and temperament for the position. Senator Mike Crapo introduced Mr. Piwowar. He indicated that, with his background, he "appreciated the value of economic analysis." Senator Crapo mentioned that both Ms. Stein and Mr. Piwowar have faced the rigors of the legislative process that he described as a "battle scar expertise." The live webcast is here.
Kara Stein's testimony begins around 51:51. She mentioned the need for strong capital markets and investor protection. Mike Piwowar's testimony begins around 56.54. He mentioned that he was replacing Commissioner Paredes. He described Commissioner Paredes as an "outstanding commissioner" who was a "thoughtful regulator, a friendly colleague, and a dedicated public servant" and expressed a hope that he would serve as ably as Commissioner Paredes.
In the Q&A, Ms. Stein indicated that JOBS Act implementation was "critical." She also, however, indicated that the SEC had to evolve to keep up with a "rapidly changing computerized marketplace." Mr. Piwowar indicated that there was a need to take a "holistic" approach at market structure issues.
There is some possibility that the confirmation process will be completed by the August recess. With such a significant change in membership (three members in six months), the tone and agenda of the SEC will likely undergo change. Beyond completion of rulemaking under the JOBS Act and Dodd Frank, signs of the new agenda will be eagerly awaited.