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Gurbir S. Grewal

SEC Names N.J. Attorney General as Enforcement Director

SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s first pick, Alex Oh, resigned within days of taking the job after a federal judge questioned her conduct in a case she was working on in private practice.

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal will lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division, putting a well-known former prosecutor in charge of the unit that polices Wall Street.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler announced the pick on Tuesday, touting his experience at state and federal levels. Gensler’s first pick, Alex Oh, resigned within days of taking the job after a federal judge questioned her conduct in a case she was working on in private practice.

As New Jersey’s attorney general since 2018, Grewal, 48, has worked on a range of issues including gun violence and the opioid epidemic. During his tenure, the state also proposed tougher rules for investment advisers and joined other states in suing financial firms. Earlier in his career, Grewal served as a federal prosecutor leading a unit that investigated white-collar crime.

“He has the ideal combination of experience, values, and leadership ability to helm the enforcement division at this critical time,” Gensler said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with him to protect investors and root out wrongdoing in our markets.”

Grewal, who was the first Sikh American to serve as a state attorney general, said he was “excited to get to work with the talented team of public servants to uncover and prosecute misconduct and protect investors.” He will start July 26.

Gensler, who took the helm of the SEC in April, is expected to take a much harder line in pursuing misconduct than his predecessors did during the Trump administration. He frequently sparred with finance executives and imposed aggressive new rules on swaps trading when he lead the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration.

--With assistance from Elise Young, David Voreacos and Chris Dolmetsch.

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