SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, at a March 29 hearing, asked US lawmakers for more resources to increase his agency’s staffing levels.
Gensler appeared before the US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Service and General Government. There he discussed the SEC’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2024.
The SEC needs personnel to oversee the crypto industry
Although Gensler discussed several topics, he specifically mentioned cryptocurrency as a justification for more staff. He explained that the SEC saw a “wild west of crypto markets, full of breaches” and said his agency needs to grow with the industry.
Gensler said the SEC’s enforcement division needs to address innovations in the crypto sector and elsewhere that have led to wrongdoing. He said the SEC intends to combat this problem by increasing the department’s staffing and gaining new “tools, expertise and resources.”
Gensler also said he intends to expand the SEC’s auditing division, which will help ensure companies are compliant. Gensler said this growth will help manage risks related to crypto, cybersecurity and the “resilience of critical market infrastructure.”
Overall, Gensler requested that the SEC be given resources to increase its workforce from 4,685 to 5,139 employees. This does not necessarily represent the actual number of SEC employees, but rather the number of full-time equivalents (FTE) working for the agency.
The SEC aggressively regulates crypto
Gensler has recently become known for his aggressive regulatory stance. Although the SEC has cracked down on fraudulent projects, the regulator has also targeted reputable cryptocurrency companies like Coinbase and Kraken, led by Gensler.
The SEC has also sought to expand rules on asset custody and cryptocurrency staking. Certain statements by Gensler also suggest that most cryptocurrencies, apart from Bitcoin, can be considered securities.
Greater funding for the SEC will no doubt allow for more regulatory action.
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