JPMorgan Executive Is Named to Run SEC Trading and Markets Unit

Updated on
  • Brett Redfearn was head of market structure at the bank
  • The SEC group oversees stock exchanges, Wall Street brokerages

The headquarters building of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, D.C.

Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

A JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive was picked to run the Securities and Exchange Commission unit that regulates U.S. stock markets and Wall Street brokerages.

Brett Redfearn, head of market structure at the New York-based bank, will oversee the SEC’s trading and markets division, according to a statement from the regulator Wednesday. Bloomberg News broke the news earlier. The position has been open since January.

The group deals with some of the most pressing matters facing the agency, including overseeing the construction of a massive trade database being built to help U.S. regulators police the stock market, as well as writing rules for exchanges and dark pools.

While SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has signaled a willingness to change market-structure rules that some critics argue are antiquated, he’s provided few details on his approach. Clayton, a former deals lawyer whose career wasn’t focused on market-structure issues, has prioritized bolstering initial public offerings. Redfearn will likely have significant sway at the agency because of his expertise.

Redfearn, a JPMorgan employee for more than nine years, expanded his role at the bank earlier this year. He went from just overseeing equity market structure strategy to running market structure for all asset classes.

He’s advocated for a regulatory overhaul. In April, he said Regulation NMS -- a landmark SEC rule approved in 2005 that accelerated a shift to electronic trading in the U.S. stock market -- is “overdue for reform.”

The pick may set up a clash with stock exchanges, who are among the most influential voices in Washington around financial regulation. Redfearn has emerged as a critic of the increasingly costly fees that U.S. stock exchanges charge traders who want access to vital data on prices.

“We have a fundamental tension in our system of self-regulation that needs to be addressed,” Redfearn said in April. The tension, he argued, comes from the fact that stock exchanges, once public utilities, have over time become publicly traded companies themselves.

— With assistance by Robert Schmidt

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