In a Thursday announcement, the SEC said Corey Frayer would be joining Gensler’s executive staff as a senior adviser on the agency’s oversight of cryptocurrencies. Frayer has worked as a professional staff member of the Senate Banking Committee as well as a senior policy adviser for the House Financial Services Committee with Representatives Maxine Waters and Brad Miller.
Frayer’s appointment to the SEC chair’s executive staff came alongside those of Philipp Havenstein, Jennifer Songer and Jorge Tenreiro, who will be working as operations counsel, investment management counsel and enforcement counsel, respectively. Gensler cited the new staff members’ “valuable counsel on policy, enforcement and agency operations” in appointing them to the team.
The SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network handle digital asset regulation in the United States, but each with different jurisdictional claims, resulting in a patchwork approach that crypto firms must navigate to legally operate. Having been confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April, Gensler will likely continue to serve as chair of the SEC until 2026.
Appointing Frayer to his staff could potentially affect Gensler’s public position on crypto-related policy changes. The SEC chair is arguably one of the most informed people on crypto and blockchain technology to ever hold his position but has expressed concerns about exchange-traded funds with exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). He has long urged crypto projects to register with the SEC, specifically saying they should “come in” and work with regulators.
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The SEC’s leadership will likely change in 2022 following the departure of commissioner Elad Roisman in January and the expiration of commissioner Allison Lee’s term, which is set to be in June. This leaves President Joe Biden with an opportunity to pick financial experts who could have a significant influence on policy related to crypto.