April 14 (UPI) -- Gary Gensler, who served as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Barack Obama, was confirmed Wednesday as the next leader of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gensler, viewed as a progressive ally of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., won confirmation by a 53-45 vote. He is a veteran of the Treasury Department, where he had worked since 1997 before joining the Obama administration. He worked 18 years at Goldman Sachs before that.
"We expect the themes of Gensler's chairmanship will likely be aggressive enforcement and increased transparency through additional disclosures," Brian Gardner, chief Washington policy strategist at investment firm Stifel, said, according to The Hill.
Gensler is expected to promote climate issues through disclosure requirements. His confirmation could also lead to a tightening of standards for investment offerings advertised as under the environmental, social and corporate governance umbrella, and increased oversight of financial risks driven by climate change.
The Senate Banking Committee ranking member, Pat Toomey, R-Pa., complained Gensler would usher in a progressive agenda that is unrelated to his duties with the SEC.
"I'm concerned he will cause the SEC to use its regulatory powers to advance a liberal social agenda focused on issues such as global warming, political spending disclosures and racial inequality and diversity," Toomey said in his floor speech Tuesday.
"Securities laws are not the appropriate vehicle to address these topics. That is why we have environmental, political spending and civil rights laws and other federal agencies to enforce them," Toomey said.