SEC’s Robert Jackson Expected to Leave the Commission This Fall

April 26, 2019

The lone Democrat on the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to depart later in 2019, according to various press reports.  Democrat Commissioner Robert Jackson, a fierce critic of share buybacks and a former TARP official, will have served just under two years if he leaves the Commission. 

Jackson's departure could have several notable impacts for the SEC.  Although President Trump recently nominated Allison Lee for the open Democrat slot for Commissioner, without her confirmation, Mr. Jackson's departure would mean the SEC would consist of two Republican Commissioners and Chair Jay Clayton, who is technically an independent.  

Jackson is expected to rejoin the faculty at New York University Law School, despite ability to remain at SEC until the end of 2020.  Mr. Jackson was appointed in early 2018 to a term that expires this June.  However, under SEC rules, he could remain at the SEC until the end of 2020 if a successor is not nominated. Prior to NYU, Mr. Jackson was a professor at Columbia Law School. 

Jackson's presence, writings and influence have shaped or slowed rulemakings and other initiatives, although Mr. Jackson has not impacted the Commission's three-member voting quorum, nor could he block rulemaking or enforcement actions.  Mr. Jackson’s intense focus on share buybacks has raised the profile of the issue at the SEC, and he recently coauthored an op-ed urging the Commission to require reporting of GAAP metrics alongside non-GAAP metrics in the compensation disclosures in proxy statements.  

Why it matters: Without Jackson—or another Democrat—Chair Clayton's agenda would face less internal resistance, even as oversight from the House of Representatives intensifies.