Gensler wants fresh $109 million to help SEC rein in 'Wild West' of crypto

Quick Take

  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler asked senators for additional funding for enforcement and technology at the markets regulator, in part for its enforcement activity in crypto markets. 

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler called crypto markets “the Wild West” while asking senators for an additional $109 million for his agency’s enforcement budget. 

The additional funding, if granted by Congress, would bring the SEC's enforcement budget up to $1.4 billion.

The SEC brought more than 750 enforcement actions across the markets it regulates in the 2022 federal fiscal year, which runs from October to the end of September. That was a nine percent uptick from the same period of time the year before, and the actions resulted in $6.4 billion in fines and disgorgements. 

“Meanwhile, rapid technological innovation in the financial markets has led to misconduct in emerging and new areas, not least in the crypto space. Addressing this requires new tools, expertise, and resources,” Gensler told senators in his opening testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Technological costs

Gensler’s also asking for $393 million from Congress for technological costs. That includes data analysis and cybersecurity, in addition to other needs. 

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“To put these figures in context, this spending is dwarfed by what some of the biggest market participants spend in a month on technology,” he told the senators.

In total, the SEC chair wants to bring the agency's funding across all divisions up to $5.1 billion from $4.7 billion this federal fiscal year. 

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