"We benefit from public comment … and we try to sort through (comment letters) within the economics, within the law and make adjustments," Gensler said.
From the time a rule is proposed to the time it gets adopted — if it gets adopted — the process can take anywhere from one to two years, Gensler added. Recently, that process has taken about 15 to 20 months, but the timeline can vary, he said.
On Nov. 27, the SEC finalized a rule to bar firms that bring asset-backed securities to the market from taking positions against those very products, and the final version of the rule differed from the original proposal in a number of ways.
In a statement that same day, Republican SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce expressed concern over the rule and criticized the agency for what she said is a pattern of "proposing unrealistic rules with numerous questions, only to substantively revise the rule text after the comment period closes."
The SEC has several contentious proposals yet to be finalized, including its climate disclosure proposal. Originally proposed in March 2022, that proposal would require public companies to provide a host of climate-related information in their periodic reports and registration statements, including greenhouse gas emissions.
In a huddle with reporters at the HMA conference, Gensler reiterated that the aim of that proposal is "to create some consistency and comparability" for disclosures that hundreds of public companies are making already.
While most comment letters have been supportive of these disclosures, "there's also a lot of comments that came in about the costs and also the possible indirect effects on nonpublic companies," Gensler told reporters. "So we're sorting through that and looking at that very closely, but I can't prejudge" how things will end up.