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Senate confirms Elad Roisman as SEC commissioner

Elad Roisman

The Senate confirmed Elad Roisman as an SEC commissioner Wednesday by an 85-14 vote.

Once Mr. Rosiman is sworn in, the Securities and Exchange Commission will have a full five members once again. Mr. Roisman, a Republican who served as chief counsel to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, replaces Michael S. Piwowar, a Republican who resigned from the commission this summer. Mr. Roisman was nominated by the White House in June and approved by the Senate Banking Committee on Aug. 23.

Republican and Democratic SEC candidates traditionally are presented together for nomination in the Senate, but Democrats have yet to nominate someone to replace Commissioner Kara M. Stein, who is ineligible to serve past December. No more than three commissioners may belong to the same political party, so a fellow Democrat must replace Ms. Stein. Bloomberg has previously reported that Allison Lee, a former enforcement attorney at the SEC, is reportedly the Democrat's choice, but there has been no formal nomination.

The Senate's decision to move forward with Mr. Roisman's nomination surprised David G. Tittsworth, a lawyer at Ropes & Gray and former president and CEO of the Investment Adviser Association. "Perhaps Senate Minority Leader (Charles E.) Schumer has a firm commitment from Senate Majority Leader (Mitch) McConnell that the Lee nomination and confirmation will proceed in due course," he said. "At any rate, SEC Chairman (Jay) Clayton will soon have another Republican commissioner whose vote will be critical on controversial matters."

Mr. Schumer's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

One item Mr. Roisman will tackle first is proposed changes to the Volcker rule, which prohibits federally backed financial institutions from engaging in proprietary trading or having interests in private equity or hedge funds. The Volcker rule changes include tailoring rules to a bank's size and clarifying exemptions for banks' proprietary trading activity. The public comment period is currently set to end Sept. 17, 60 days after the proposal was published in the Federal Register.

The SEC is also pushing for a best-interest standard that compels brokers to put clients' financial interests ahead of their own, requires them to mitigate financial conflicts, and prevents brokers from using the terms "adviser" or "advisor" to describe themselves. Comments for the best-interest standard were due Aug. 7.

Karen Barr, president and CEO of the IAA said her organization looks forward to "continuing to work with Mr. Roisman in his new capacity regarding the standards of conduct rule-making and other regulatory issues of critical importance to investment advisers. And we look forward to working with Mr. Roisman and his fellow commissioners as they pursue the SEC's mission of strengthening U.S. markets and protecting investors."