Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton, President-elect
Donald Trumps pick to chair the Securities and Exchange
Commission, is not a longtime supporter of Trump but was drawn
to the job because he passionately believes the current
regulatory environment is burdening American companies with
unnecessary rules and hindering economic growth, a source close
to the veteran Wall Street lawyer says.
Clayton is expected to roll back at least some of the rules
and regulations enacted under current chair Mary Jo White if he
is confirmed. The attorney has a long history on Wall Street,
working on high-profile deals that included Barclays
Capitals purchase of Lehman Brothers and Berkshire
Hathaways investment in Goldman Sachs. Both transactions
were done during the height the financial crisis.
The source says Clayton is an idealist who believes that the
costs of complying with many of the regulations enacted since
the financial crisis are brutal. At the same time,
the source says, Clayton doesnt plan to tear
everything down and make it regulation-free. In a
statement when the nominee was announced, Trump said, He
will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create
jobs while playing by the rules at the same time.
Claytons wife Gretchen is a wealth manager at Goldman.
Although its expected that his wifes Goldman
affiliation will be raised during the confirmation process,
industry executives emphasize that her wealth advisory position
has nothing to do with decision-making at the firm as a
Clayton, who lives in Manhattans Tribeca neighborhood
with his wife and three children, contrasts starkly with Trump,
who won the election after a contentious campaign that divided
the country. Hes modest, understated, even keeled,
open minded, not dogmatic, says the source, who has known
him for 20 years.
Although Clayton would arguably bring much-needed financial
experience to his role as one of the countrys most
influential financial regulators, the lawyer is one of several
Trump nominees who are being criticized for their ties to Wall
Street including Gary Cohn, chief operating officer and
president of Goldman and Trumps pick to head the National Economic Council. At Sullivan
& Cromwell, Clayton focused on mergers and acquisitions,
capital markets, regulatory and enforcement proceedings, and
advising wealthy families on their investments.
Hes worked on notable initial public offerings,
including the $25 billion IPO of Alibaba Group, as well as
Howard Markss Oaktree Capital Group, hedge fund Och-Ziff
Capital Management, and investment bank Moelis &