Biden Is Expected to Name Gary Gensler for SEC Chairman

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WASHINGTON—President-elect Joe Biden is expected to choose Gary Gensler, a former financial regulator and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the decision.

Mr. Gensler’s nomination would please liberal Democrats who cheered the former regulator’s tough approach to rule-making during the Obama administration, when he spearheaded the overhaul of derivatives markets mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and oversaw enforcement actions against investment banks accused of manipulating benchmark interest rates.

The choice of Mr. Gensler, who declined to comment, wasn’t final and could still change, the people said.

As head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009 to 2014, Mr. Gensler developed a reputation among his colleagues for bare-knuckle tactics as he drove to create a regulatory framework for derivatives, a multi-trillion dollar market that had largely been free from federal oversight. By the time he left the commission, the rule set was largely complete, years before other regulators wrapped up their postcrisis work.

It was a surprising turn for the former Goldman executive who had previously resisted calls for additional derivatives regulation when he served in the Treasury Department under President Clinton. The decision not to tightly regulate derivatives in the 1990s has been blamed for contributing to the financial crisis a decade later.

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