SEC Chair on the market impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict

SEC Chair Gary Gensler joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer to discuss the affect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the stock market and U.S. economy.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: I want to start with the news and Ukraine, especially the reaction from the business community. The New York Stock Exchange recently moved to temporarily halt trading for Russia-based companies. Have you been monitoring that? And should it be a permanent ban?

GARY GENSLER: So just stepping back from any one circumstance, the staff of the SEC are monitoring markets, as we do through these times. Throughout the whole time that I've been at the agency, it's not just about the geopolitical events in Eastern Europe. But yes, they're monitoring. We're staying close to those events.

We're talking to our colleagues at the US Department of the Treasury and across the financial regulatory complex, the Federal Reserve, and other regulators, as well as globally to regulators in the banking and the securities fields across the globe, just to stay close and monitoring events with these really unusual events out of Eastern Europe and war in Ukraine.

ANDY SERWER: Do you feel you have enough transparency into US corporate exposure to Russian assets and the Russian economy? Do you have worries about hidden US connections, as the Russian economy may be headed for a recession or worse?

GARY GENSLER: Well, Andy, I'm going to stick to our remit at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is about overseeing, yes, $100-plus trillion-dollar capital markets and ensuring that they're fair and orderly, efficient. And in these unusual times, we're monitoring for that.

But I do feel that we've had good dialogue with major market participants in the fund area, in the broker-dealer area, the exchanges, the clearinghouses. And at least for these handful of days so far, the market functions have been operating relatively well. But what comes tomorrow? What comes in the future? We're monitoring against events as they come.

ANDY SERWER: I understand it's not straight ahead into your remit. But obviously, as you suggest yourself, there are implications potentially, and potential even systemic risks to the global macro system.

One last question here, Chair Gensler, about that though, are there actions the SEC is taking or considering taking in response to what's going on in Ukraine and Russia?

GARY GENSLER: Again, we're staying alert and monitoring. We're staying close with the rest of the Financial Stability Oversight Council agencies and our colleagues around the globe. If you look at funds under management, the total multiples of tens of trillions of dollars assets under management here in the US, only a very small percentage, measured well below 1%, in fact only a fraction of 1%, are invested in Russian securities or ADRs traded overseas and things like that.

So yes, we're going to continue to monitor and especially stay alert for any cyber risks or any other market functioning risks. But I think that's what our role is, and then to ensure for our three-part mission, investor protection, capital formation, and then that in the middle, the fair, orderly, and efficient markets.