Jon Stewart, comedian and former host of “The Daily Show,” released an podcast interview he conducted with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler on Wednesday, where the two talked about the stock market, recent fines levied against Kim Kardashian and how the SEC is oftentimes outgunned.
“It’s not a level playing field,” Gensler admitted when discussing the stock market. Gensler listed examples including increased transparency about short selling, securities borrowing, and insiders at large companies selling stock, as ways to close that gap — rules about those activities have been proposed by the SEC, Gensler said.
The SEC can make proposals about new rules it wishes to implement, but Congress is ultimately burdened with writing laws, not the SEC, Gensler explained when Stewart asked if the SEC was doing enough to create equal opportunity for all investors.
Earlier in October, the SEC fined celebrity Kim Kardashian for touting a cryptocurrency in an Instagram post without disclosing the payment she received.
“Yes we are holding people like Ms. Kardashian accountable, and that does send a message through the markets,” Gensler said. “We had earlier kept others accountable in the same way. Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled and Steve Seagal and so forth.”
Like Kardashian, those other celebrities listed were involved in crypto scams at various points over the last few years.
Stewart contended that those situations are anomalies and are not as important as holding big financial institutions like “UBS
accountable, and Goldman
and all the larger players.”
“We are doing both, or all of the above, but within limited resources, and within a judicial system that’s, you know, people have rights, and they are going to challenge us,” Gensler responded.
As evidence the SEC is not complacent on regulating activity at large financial institutions, Gensler pointed to the SEC’s $361 million fine of Barclays
back in September of this year. The Barclays fine stemmed from trading in 2017 over an unregistered offer and sale of securities.
During this interview, and in a separate interview with Stewart back in March, Gensler on several occasions posited that the SEC was constrained by lack of resources.
“We could use some more resources, that is for sure. There is 4,500 people that are full-time here. I wish it was more,” Gensler said back in March.
The interview comes as U.S. stock indexes edged higher on Wednesday despite inflation data that came in hotter-than-expected.
U.S. wholesale prices increased by 0.4% in September, above expectations, and may signal a willingness by the Federal Reserve to once again raise interest rates to curb rising costs for Americans.