: SEC appoints Haoxiang Zhu to run trading and markets division

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The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday the appointment of MIT professor Haoxiang Zhu as director of the regulator’s Division of Trading and Markets, which oversees securities exchanges, credit ratings agencies and other institutions critical to market structure.

“The work of our Division of Trading and Markets links the investors in our capital markets with those companies seeking to raise money, hire employees, and grow,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a press release. “Haoxiang brings to the SEC deep expertise and commitment to the agency’s efforts to enhance and update our rules to continue to maintain markets that are the envy in the world. I’m excited to welcome him to the agency.”

Zhu’s area of expertise is in market structure and design, and his appointment comes at a time when the SEC is considering broad changes to market plumbing, including reform of payment for order flow, or the practice whereby market makers pay stock brokers for the privilege of executing customer orders.

Read more: Don’t expect major SEC attack on Robinhood business model, experts say

Gensler has also expressed concern about the fact that a growing share of equity trades are being executed off exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq
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instead taking place through market makers or alternative trading systems that do not report sales price data the way so-called “lit markets” do.

Zhu has also done research on the potential impact of central bank digital currencies on financial markets, at a time when the Federal Reserve is considering the wisdom of launching a digital dollar.