Former Senator Picked to Head SIFMA

Judd A. Gregg, a former three-term senator, was appointed chief executive officer of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).

During a media call Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., who was named president of the association, told PLANADVISER that a uniform fiduciary standard of care, which “SIFMA has long been in favor of,” will be SIFMA’s new CEO’s first priority, and “the No. 1 place we are doing a lot of work.”

Another one of Gregg’s projects will be helping mend the image of Wall Street. “Too big to fail” must end, Gregg said. “At the center of this financial system is the membership of SIFMA. Our members provide the resources and expertise that make the economic engine of America work and create a more prosperous life for Americans,” Gregg said, describing Wall Street as a “huge positive force” for creating jobs.

Calling the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “a primary and critical regulator, and an extremely effective regulator,” Gregg said the commission’s work on initiatives from the Dodd-Frank Act require mulling before rulemaking can take place. “They are very philosophical and academic ideas, very difficult,” Gregg said about the Dodd-Frank reforms. “Organizations like the SEC have been reasonably deliberate. We don’t want to rush into regulatory ideas,” Gregg said.

Gregg was the ranking Republican member on the Appropriations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees. Before joining the Senate, he served two terms as governor of New Hampshire and four terms as a member of the House of Representatives. Gregg currently serves as a co-chair of the bipartisan Campaign to Fix the Debt, and he served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.

“Judd’s experience as both a governor and legislator will be of tremendous value to SIFMA in bridging the gap between the complexities of the financial markets and the positive impact our markets have on every community across America,” said Chet Helck, SIFMA chair and CEO of the Global Private Client Group at Raymond James Financial. 

Bentsen has served as a leading industry voice  and as executive vice president of public policy and advocacy since 2009, overseeing SIFMA’s legal, legislative and regulatory affairs.  Before joining SIFMA, Bentsen was president of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.  From 1995 to 2003, he served as a member of the House of Representatives from Texas, where he sat on the House Financial Services Committee (and its predecessor House Banking and Financial Services Committee), and separately on the House Budget Committee. Before his service in Congress, Bentsen was an investment banker at a Wall Street firm and a large regional firm, where he specialized in municipal and mortgage finance.