Former SEC Staff Forecast the Biden Administration’s Potential Impact on the Agency’s Enforcement Efforts (Part One of Two)

Following a challenging U.S. presidential election held in the midst of a pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have emerged as the winners. In parallel with that development, current SEC Chair Jay Clayton has announced his intention to step down from the agency at the end of the year. That confluence of events provides fertile ground for potentially sweeping changes to the legislative and regulatory environment in which private fund managers operate. In light of that, Debevoise recently hosted a webinar exploring the effects and implications a Biden administration is likely to have on SEC leadership appointments, priorities and areas of focus. The presentation featured Debevoise partners Andrew J. Ceresney, Arian M. June, Robert B. Kaplan and Julie M. Riewe, along with counsel Charu Chandrasekhar. Many of the panelists served at the SEC during the Obama administration, and Chandrasekhar only recently left the SEC. This first article in a two-part series summarizes how SEC leadership changes during new presidential administrations and its effect on the agency’s priorities going forward, as well as how enforcement efforts will likely become more aggressive under the Biden administration. The second article will analyze why the SEC’s priorities will likely shift away from retail investors and to the private funds sector, along with how fund managers can prepare for that scrutiny. For additional commentary from Debevoise partners, see our two-part series “Strategies and Tactics for Developing an Effective Tabletop Exercise”: Part One (Aug. 4, 2020); and Part Two (Aug. 11, 2020).

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