By Katanga Johnson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rob Jackson, a Democratic commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said on Thursday he will step down from the agency on Feb. 14 to continue teaching at New York University School of Law, where he is on faculty leave.
The departure of Jackson, an independent who was picked by Democrats to fill an open Democratic seat in January 2018, will leave Allison Lee as the lone Democratic commissioner at the Republican-led agency, which has been pursuing an ambitious agenda to overhaul decades-old securities rules.
Jackson’s term expired in June, but commissioners can continue to serve for 18 months after their term expires and before their replacement is confirmed by the Senate.
Reuters reported last month that the White House is expected to nominate Caroline Crenshaw, an attorney in Jackson’s office, to fill his seat, although the timeline for her nomination is not clear.
The SEC is led by a bipartisan commission that includes a chair, two Democrats and two Republicans. While the White House nominates commissioners, they must be confirmed by the Senate, a process that can take months.
“I will always be proud to have served alongside my fellow Commissioners, Chairman (Jay) Clayton, and especially the commission’s staff, who dedicate their careers to protecting ordinary investors and give hardworking American families the chance to build a better future,” Jackson said in a statement.
During his term, Jackson regularly clashed with his Republican colleagues, voting against more than a dozen agency measures that he said could potentially hurt investors or increase risk. They included changes to the agency’s whistleblower program and a new conflict-of-interest rule for brokers adopted in 2019.
At the Corporate Directors Forum Annual Conference in San Diego, Jackson said one thing he was proud of during his time at the SEC was approving a rule on exchange-traded funds that allows them to more easily come to the market.
“It’s important meat-and-potatoes work we should have done before,” Jackson said.
In his remaining time at the agency, Jackson can still preside over rule proposals and enforcement actions brought before him.
“In the long run at the SEC, there’s a lot of work we need to do,” Jackson said during the conference. “Too many people feel like they don’t have a fair shot in the market. To the degree we can convince people to do the right thing and save some money (and invest), that’s something I would be proud of.”
(Reporting by Katanga Johnson; additional reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in San Diego; Editing by Michelle Price, Bill Berkrot and Paul Simao)