SEC Chair Jay Clayton announces year-end exit

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SEC Chair Jay Clayton plans to leave the commission at the end of the year, departing from the market regulator about six months before his term is up, the agency announced Monday morning.

“Working alongside the incredibly talented and driven women and men of the SEC has been the highlight of my career,” Clayton, an independent who was sworn in on May 4, 2017, for a five-year term, said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Under the SEC’s rules, it is up to the president to appoint an interim chair when the commission chair leaves.

Clayton’s departure was expected after he told the House Financial Services Committee this summer that he wanted to return to New York. That was shortly after President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate him to be U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

That appointment never happened, as Geoffrey Berman, then-U.S. attorney for the Southern District, refused to step down. The political flap was resolved when Berman was replaced by his deputy.

The SEC said that under Clayton’s tenure the commission had completed work on more than 65 final rules, exacted $14 billion in financial penalties, conducted more than 10,000 exams, and paid approximately $565 million to whistleblowers, including a record $114 million payout, the largest single award in the program’s history. The SEC also released its first Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan during his chairmanship.

“I would like to thank President Trump for the opportunity, and the support and freedom, to lead the women and men of the SEC,” Clayton said in the statement. He also thanked the leaders of the Treasury, Federal Reserve, CFTC, FDIC, and other regulators.

Clayton’s resignation announcement did not say where he was headed next.

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