REGULATION/LEGISLATION

Hester Peirce likely to be named SEC commissioner

Hester Peirce, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission counsel and Senate aide, is the Trump administration’s likely choice to fill the open Republican seat at the Wall Street regulator, according to people familiar with the matter.

Should President Donald Trump pick Ms. Peirce to be an SEC commissioner, her nomination will likely be paired with a candidate backed by Senate Democrats for another vacant seat, according to the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the process. Candidates that have been discussed for the Democratic spot include Robert J. Jackson Jr., a Columbia University law professor, and Bharat R. Ramamurti, an aide to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the people said.

Ms. Peirce is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University who has been sharply critical of the regulatory expansion enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. She was initially selected for an SEC seat by President Barack Obama in 2015, but her nomination stalled in the Senate Banking Committee last year along with that of Democratic-backed law professor Lisa M. Fairfax.

Filling the Republican slot — one of two vacancies on the five-seat commission — could boost SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s efforts to act on his agenda, which includes steps to make it easier for companies to raise money in public markets. Mr. Clayton, who was a deals lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, has said he sees “meaningful room for improvement” to make U.S. markets more appealing to businesses and investors.

Ms. Peirce and Mr. Ramamurti declined to comment. Mr. Jackson and a White House spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Trump’s SEC nominees would need to be confirmed by the Senate.