Mr. Trump's appointments to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Treasury and Labor departments are laudable. None of his financial services appointees have been put into place to tear down or denigrate their agencies.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has taken a deliberate and intelligent approach to running the commission, including explicitly stating that its historic approach to regulation is sound. His recent Reg Flex Agenda includes items recommended by Treasury Department reports and is a vast improvement in terms of reliability and accuracy of regulations that actually will be considered this year. With a full complement of SEC commissioners in place for the first time since 2015, Mr. Clayton will be able to benefit from diverse viewpoints — as intended when the SEC was established in 1934 — and will make it easier to meet the agency's quorum rules for transacting business.
CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo voluntarily initiated Project KISS ("Keep It Simple, Stupid") to examine all existing CFTC regulations with an eye toward making them more effective and efficient.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has produced several reports pursuant to Mr. Trump's executive directives, including one on asset management issues and one on reforming the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The Treasury Department's sensible and relatively modest recommendations already have had a positive impact on the asset management regulatory agenda going forward. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's most visible issue, the fiduciary rule, has been delayed for 18 months while the department is writing a report that re-examines the rule, as required by the president's executive directive. All in all, high marks must be given to Mr. Trump's appointments that matter most to the asset management industry. Yes, his appointees have benefited from a robust market, healthy economy and comparative lack of game-changing scandals. And yes, there will always be vigorous debates about asset management rules and policies. But it is difficult to characterize the foreseeable asset management agenda as radical, revolutionary or counterproductive.