Biden has sought to balance his economic team with a mix of liberals and centrists, but selecting Gensler, 63, would mark a step further to the left than many observers expected. The path to confirming Gensler to the post became smoother earlier this month when Democrats won both Georgia Senate elections, which will soon give them control of the upper-chamber on a narrow margin.
Reuters first reported on Tuesday that Gensler would be picked for the post. A Biden transition spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.
“Gensler earned a reputation as an aggressive regulator following the financial crises,” said Nicolas Morgan, a former senior trial counsel at the SEC now at the law firm Paul Hastings.
Gensler will face pressure to increase mandatory disclosure rules for publicly traded firms on issues such as environmental practices and governance rules, said Joseph A. Grundfest, former SEC commissioner and a law professor at Stanford Law School.
The SEC, for instance, could require companies to disclose their tonnage of greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution levels. Mike Konczal, director at the Roosevelt Institute, a left-leaning think tank, said Gensler will also face pressure to implement new oversight rules for the money markets, which showed significant signs of instability this past spring.
Those efforts may already be in the crosshairs. Richard Morrison, senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute, released a statement urging the SEC under Gensler not to pursue new reporting standards on environmental, governance or other social questions.
“Let’s put it this way: There will be thousands of devils buried in thousands of details,” Grundfest said. “Depending on what the rules are, they could be quite significant. … This is a guy who is going to hit the ground running.”