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To lead SEC, Trump picks attorney with ties to Goldman Sachs

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(Bloomberg) -- President-elect Donald Trump will pick Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton to run the SEC, positioning a top lawyer to banks and hedge funds to lead Wall Street’s main regulator.

Trump’s transition team issued a statement Wednesday saying he intends to nominate Clayton. If confirmed by the Senate, Clayton will play a key role in helping create U.S. jobs, while providing “strong oversight” of the financial industry, according to the statement.

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“Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules," Trump said in the statement. "We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers.”

Clayton has represented Goldman Sachs and investment firms ranging from Och-Ziff Capital Management to Oaktree Capital, according to Sullivan & Cromwell’s website. Much of his legal work has involved mergers and acquisitions, as well as representing firms facing U.S. investigations.

He represented Goldman Sachs in connection with the $10 billion bailout it received in 2008 as part of the government’s $700 billion rescue of banks during the financial crisis. Trump has tapped several officials with Goldman Sachs’ ties for senior roles. They include Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who the incoming president has picked to be his top economic adviser, and Steve Mnuchin, a former partner at the firm, who has been nominated to be Treasury Secretary.

“We are going to work together with key stakeholders in the financial system to make sure we provide investors and out companies with the confidence to invest together in America,” Clayton said in the statement. “We will carefully monitor our financial sector, as we set policy that encourages American companies to do what they do best: create jobs.”

Clayton would replace Mary Jo White, who has said she will step down as SEC chair when President Barack Obama leaves office later this month.

Bloomberg News