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U.S. Senate votes 53-45 to confirm Gary Gensler as Biden's SEC chief

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Gary Gensler testifies at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted 53-45 on Wednesday to confirm former derivative markets regulator Gary Gensler as head of the country's top securities markets regulator, spelling a tougher regulatory regime for Wall Street.

Gensler is expected to be sworn in as U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman in the coming days.

A former Goldman Sachs banker and a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, Gensler most recently led President Joe Biden's transition plan for financial industry oversight and served under former Democratic President Barack Obama as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Wall Street banks, brokers, funds and public companies enjoyed four-years of easier rules and enforcement under former Republican President Donald Trump's administration, but that ended with Democratic President Joe Biden's appointment of SEC commissioner Allison Lee as interim chair.

She has wasted no time unraveling Trump's Wall Street-friendly policies using quick-fix legal tactics, including beefing up the agency's enforcement team and pursuing new corporate disclosure requirements. read more

Gensler, who developed a reputation as a tough operator willing to stand up to powerful Wall Street interests during his stint at the SEC, is expected to take an equally tough stance.

Last month, he told Congress that he would pursue new regulations for cryptocurrencies, which he said can be a "catalyst for change" but pose investor protection concerns, and would explore new climate and political spending corporate disclosures. read more

"Gary Gensler has the perfect mix of market expertise, regulatory experience and commitment to the public interest to be an outstanding SEC Chairman," said Barbara Roper, chief investor advocate at Washington-based Consumer Federation of America.

"He'll have a long list of pressing issues to address once he is sworn in, but I have no doubt that he will dive into that workload with gusto."

Reporting by Katanga Johnson Editing by Michelle Price, Editing by Franklin Paul

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