Senate panel advances Trump’s pick to head SEC

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Jay Clayton, a veteran corporate lawyer, is one step closer to a final vote on his nomination to serve as the head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 15-8 on Tuesday morning to advance Mr Clayton’s nomination to the full Senate floor for a final vote on confirmation, which has yet to be scheduled. Some Democrats broke across party lines to join the committee’s Republicans in voting for Mr Clayton, while others — including Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat known for her fierce criticism of the financial industry — opposed it.

Nominated to lead the top US securities regulator by President Donald Trump, Mr Clayton is a partner with white-shoe law firm Sullivan & Cromwell who has counted some of Wall Street’s biggest names among his clients, including Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Deutsche Bank.

He faced tough grilling during his confirmation hearing over his Wall Street ties, particularly as SEC ethics rules will require him to recuse himself for two years from enforcement actions involving his former clients or anyone represented by his law firm — a prospect that critics fear could leave the remaining four commissioners deadlocked and hamper enforcement actions.

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