Chair Quigley Statement at Securities and Exchange Commission Oversight Hearing

2021-05-26 14:06

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's oversight hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission:

This morning we welcome the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler.

Mr. Gensler, thank you for being here today.

The SEC protects investors, helps secure our markets against fraud and manipulation, and promotes capital formation. And like most Federal agencies, its work has changed in profound ways because of the pandemic.

I’d like to briefly mention four areas where we hope to gain insight into the SEC’s recent activities and future resource needs. This information will be vital as we get started in earnest on crafting this year’s appropriations bills.

First is the issue of emerging financial technologies. The market for non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrencies, and other digital assets has exploded.

While these have created significant wealth and value, these markets also feel like a virtual wild west. They have led to extreme market volatility, theft, “pump and dump” schemes, and other issues that hurt retail investors, and I look forward to learning more about the work the SEC is doing, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, to help bring more order to these markets.

Second, we are not just seeing innovation in financial products. Technology is also driving new market trends that warrant scrutiny. For example, Chair Gensler, I know you recently testified on the issue of Gamestop, and that the SEC is investigating issues related to the trades of Gamestop on the financial platform Robinhood. I hope to hear more about how the SEC can preserve the rights of retail investors as it grapples with the market impacts of new technologies like mobile apps, decentralized finance, and artificial intelligence.

Third, as a strong proponent of transparency in and out of government, I am heartened to see the SEC finally make progress on climate issues. There is widespread interest from both companies and consumers – and the new Administration – in increased disclosure of environmental and climate risks. I welcome both the increased regulatory and enforcement efforts in this space. I am also a firm advocate for increased political disclosures and will continue my work to provide the SEC the resources and authorities it needs to address this pressing issue.

Finally, the pandemic has accelerated many of the trends of recent years, from digital adoption to geographic migrations. Unfortunately, one of those things is income and wealth inequality.

It is a testament to the resiliency of the American economy and people that our markets were able to quickly stabilize, and then grow, after the start of the pandemic. But that also made the richest Americans much richer, even as many low-income areas and communities of color face setbacks that will push off financial prosperity for years to come.

It is not enough just to make sure markets work. They need to work for everyone. I look forward to working with the SEC and the Administration to help address this growing disconnect between main street and Wall Street.

Chair Gensler, I realize that the SEC shares jurisdiction of these issues with other agencies that this subcommittee oversees, including the Department of Treasury and the Federal Trade Commission. We also welcome your comments on how we might be able to facilitate more cooperation with these agencies and other parts of the Federal government to ensure you can work more efficiently.

117th Congress