(Adds background, comments from Clayton and Hinman)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON May 9 U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission Chairman Jay Clayton unveiled his first major
personnel decision on Tuesday, saying he had hired an attorney
who worked on prominent initial public offerings to lead the
SEC's division that oversees public company filings.
The SEC said William Hinman, a retired partner at the
Silicon Valley office of the law firm Simpson Thacher &
Bartlett, will serve as director of the Division of Corporation
According to his old law firm biography, Hinman worked on
many high-profile IPOs, including those of Facebook,
Google and Alibaba - an IPO that Clayton also
worked on while he was a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.
"Bill is widely recognized for his judgment and expertise in
the area of corporate finance," Clayton said in a statement. "He
has spent the last 37 years working in our public and private
markets, and he understands the SEC's mission."
The announcement came shortly after Clayton held a
townhall-style meeting with all of the SEC's staff, in which he
cited capital formation among his top priorities, according to a
person who attended.
The top Corporation Finance Division post will be crucial
because of the unit's role in writing rules that govern public
and private capital-raising.
President Donald Trump's administration has urged government
regulators to focus their efforts on finding ways to cut back or
decrease regulations that might hinder job creation or economic
As SEC Chairman, Clayton is expected to take steps that
could make it easier for mid-sized private companies to take the
next step and go public.
Wall Street financiers have blamed certain post-financial
crisis disclosure rules and regulations adopted in the wake of
major accounting scandals in the early 2000s for contributing to
an ongoing IPO drought.
As director of Corporation Finance, Hinman will help craft
any new rules for public and private offerings.
He will also have direct input in other critical areas,
including on staff decisions about whether public companies can
exclude shareholder proposals from corporate ballots.
"I have worked closely with the dedicated and talented staff
of the Division of Corporation Finance throughout my career in
private practice, and it will be a privilege to work with them
to advance the SEC’s mission," Hinman said in a statement.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Dan