Crown image Columbia Law School

Chairman Clayton’s Farewell to the SEC

I recently submitted a letter to President Donald J. Trump informing him that today, December 23, 2020, will be my last day as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The text of the letter is included below.

I again want to thank the 4,500 outstanding women and men of the SEC for their service to investors, our markets and our country.  They have shown time and again how fortunate we are as a nation to have individuals of strong character and unwavering commitment serving at this great agency.  Their importance and the impact of their efforts were on full display this past year, when, in the face of tremendous operational, personal and professional challenges, they came together and worked tirelessly to support the continued functioning of our markets.  To a person, they know that the over 65 million American households invested in the future of America are counting on the SEC to ensure that our markets provide opportunity with fairness and transparency for all.

I know the women and men of the SEC will continue to pursue their mission — protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation — with passion, professionalism and mutual respect.  It has been the honor and privilege of my professional life to serve the public alongside them.

* * *

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. President,

It has been the honor and privilege of my professional life to serve the American people as Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The absolute trust and unwavering support you and your economic team provided to me and the 4,500 women and men of the Commission has enabled us to pursue our mission to the benefit of the more than 65 million American households who invest in and depend on our markets.  No agency leader could ask for more in terms of freedom, resources and cooperation.

Your administration facilitated remarkably productive engagement across the federal financial regulatory community.  You did so by selecting a diverse collection of skilled, experienced and dedicated professionals, including Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, Chair Jay Powell, Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Chairman Heath Tarbert, Chairman Rodney Hood, and Vice Chair Randy Quarles, to name just a few.  In so doing, you provided each of us with an unprecedented combination of expertise and experience to draw upon in furtherance of our respective mandates.

The results are impressive.  Through these coordinated efforts, and with the help of Congress, our capital markets have been resilient, including through the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our public and private markets have grown considerably – today, the S&P 500 index is approximately 65 percent above its level on December 30, 2016.  At the SEC, we focused on modernizing our regulatory framework, adopting over 90 rules, many in areas that had not been substantively addressed in decades.  Importantly, our inspection and enforcement efforts focused on the needs of those tens of millions of American households.  We obtained orders for over $14 billion in monetary remedies in enforcement actions and returned a record of approximately $3.5 billion to harmed investors.  I agree with you that we must fuel job growth and prosperity by promoting capital formation and cutting red tape for entrepreneurs and small, medium and large businesses while providing appropriate investor protections and ensuring that bad actors know they have no place in our markets.

As we recently discussed, I am in the process of wrapping up my agenda and will depart on December 23rd.  I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and all the best for the future.  Thank you again for the faith you placed in me to lead the wonderful women and men of the SEC.

Very truly yours,

Jay Clayton

Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, issued this statement on December 23, 2020.