SEC Said to Hire Congress Liaison as GOP Seeks to Gut Bank Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton has hired a point person to manage the agency’s relationship with Congress, a key a position at a time when Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration are eager to overhaul financial rules.

Bryan Wood, a former Republican staff member on the House Financial Services Committee, started recently as head of the SEC’s legislative and intergovernmental affairs office, said two people familiar with the matter. Wood will serve as Clayton’s eyes and ears on Capitol Hill, an important job because the SEC depends on Congress to approve its budget, and lawmakers of both parties frequently drag the agency into political disputes.

Clayton, who took the helm in early May, has yet to propose any major rules. Instead, he’s been steadily rounding out a team of senior aides to carry out his agenda.

In Congress, Wood worked for Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who is leading the charge to scale back regulations imposed on Wall Street by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

Earlier this month, the House passed legislation -- sponsored by Hensarling -- that would rip up much of the post-crisis law. The bill faces long odds in the Senate, because Democrats are unlikely to support it. That means agencies like the SEC will play a prominent role in President Donald Trump’s efforts to ease rules.

SEC spokeswoman Judy Burns declined to comment on Wood’s appointment.