Bentsen may helm SIFMA permanently

Jan 13, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

With Wall Street increasingly focused on Washington, the chief lobbyist at an influential financial services organization may extend his interim leadership into a permanent stay.

Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association's executive vice president for public policy and advocacy, will become acting president and chief executive when T. Timothy Ryan Jr. steps down as CEO on Feb. 23. Mr. Ryan will head back to JPMorgan Chase & Co., the firm he left to take over SIFMA in April 2008.

A former member of the House of Representatives from Texas, Mr. Bentsen is a leading candidate for the permanent position, though SIFMA hasn't yet begun a formal hiring process.

While in the House, he served on the Financial Services Committee and played a role in crafting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Implementation of its cousin, the Dodd-Frank, has been more complex, creating Wall Street angst.

That requires the skill of someone such as Mr. Bentsen, who understands lawmakers and regulators, according to James Angel, associate professor of finance at Georgetown University.

SOUND ARGUMENTS

“Right now, our industry is in the doghouse,” Mr. Angel said. “In that kind of environment, you need good advocates who can counter the knee-jerk spirit of the times with sound arguments.”

JPMorgan is appointing Mr. Ryan global head of regulatory strategy and policy.

“More than at any time in our history, regulatory strategy and policies around the world are affecting our business and how we serve clients,” Matt Zames, JPMorgan's co-chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Tim has both a deep knowledge of these policies and the government representatives formulating them, and also knows our businesses and executives extremely well from his 16 years at the firm.”

mschoeff@investmentnews.com Twitter: @markschoeff

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