On December 28, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that President Trump designated Elad L. Roisman as Acting Chairman of the agency. Roisman is taking over the chairmanship from Jay Clayton who stepped down from his post after a three-and-a-half year tenure.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as the Acting Chairman,” said Acting Chairman Roisman. “During the time I am in this role, I am fully committed to maintaining the steady course that Chairman Clayton charted during his admirable tenure. I look forward to continuing to work with the incredible SEC staff and my fellow Commissioners as we steward this agency into the new year.”
SEC Commissioners Lee, Crenshaw, and Peirce released a statement which reads: “We heartily congratulate Commissioner Roisman on his designation as Acting Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and look forward to continuing our work together to further the agency’s vital mission.”
Acting Chairman Roisman was sworn in as an SEC Commissioner on September 11, 2018 and previously served as Chief Counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
During a September vote on rule changes to the SEC Whistleblower Program, Acting Chairman Roisam talked at length about the success of the program and the importance of whistleblowers to the SEC’s enforcement efforts. At that meeting, he stated: “Needless to say, contributions from whistleblowers have leveraged the efforts of our Enforcement division and other agencies, enabling us to protect investors ever more effectively. To call this program a success is an understatement.” He added that “it is exciting to think that we can build upon this success to achieve even more.” Acting Chairman Roisman claimed he supported the rule changes because he believed that the final rule achieved the goal “to build on the early successes of the whistleblower program, further incentivizing productive whistleblower activity, and increasing efficiency, so that our staff can more easily identify and reward meritorious whistleblowers.”
Acting Chairman Roisman specifically pointed to a new rule that would increase small whistleblower awards as a reason why he supported the rule changes. The rule established a presumption that, in cases where the maximum amount of an award is $5 million or less, and no negative factors are present, the award amount will be automatically set at the maximum 30% mark. Acting Chairman Roisman claimed that “this provision will have the effect of increasing awards for more whistleblowers than the proposed rule would have—and based on historical awards and the Commission’s experience, I expect it will apply to the majority of all whistleblowers. In all, these changes will hopefully further incentivize prospective whistleblowers to come forward with information, especially in cases in which the dollar amount of the fraud may be relatively small.”
It is still unknown whom President-Elect Joe Biden will appoint to be the next Chairman of the SEC. Individuals reportedly under consideration for the position include Preet Bharara, Manhattan’s former top federal prosecutor.