Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler is working on tougher rules for high-speed trading firms, private-equity managers, mutual funds and online brokerages. Mr. Gensler, less than six months on the job, says he wants to make the capital markets less costly for companies raising money as well as for ordinary investors saving for retirement. His main targets are what he says are profits and salaries earned above what a purely competitive market would allow, known as economic rents.
“I hope that we address, and try to lower, the economic rents in our capital markets,” Mr. Gensler said. He noted that finance as a share of U.S. economic output had more than doubled since the 1950s to roughly 8% of today’s gross domestic product.
“If we ever got back to what it was,” he said, “that’s a lot of savings.”