Biden’s SEC pick is ominous sign for Wall Street

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)SAN FRANCISCO - He’s back. Former banker-turned-industry critic Gary Gensler is in the running as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reuters has reported.

That will rankle the finance industry, which is still smarting from Gensler’s years at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under Barack Obama. If he takes the helm at the SEC, tougher enforcement is likely.Gensler was a thorn in Wall Street’s side in his previous political incarnation. At the CFTC, he was charged with injecting more transparency into the opaque parts of derivatives trading after the 2008 financial crisis. He moved more quickly than the SEC to implement new measures and also pushed for a tough definition of what kind of proprietary trading would be allowed under the so-called Volcker rule.Reining in bad behavior was another priority. Under Gensler, the CFTC brought cases against banks for rigging the Libor benchmark rate. His background in the finance industry helped make him a more effective regulator. He spent nearly 20 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was co-head of finance dealing with treasury departments at governments and companies.Potentially placing him at more...