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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New regulations on the SPAC market have been slow to come, but SEC chair Gary Gensler on Tuesday assured Congress that they are indeed coming.

Why it matters: SPAC volume has skyrocketed in the past two years, but their rules haven't evolved.

What Gensler said, in response to a question from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):

"I think the risks are to investors and the disclosure to the investors. I've asked staff to serve up recommendations that we can consider as a Commission."But in essence there's a lot of costs in these. Secondly, they usually have a two-year fuse and in that two-year fuse they try to go out and buy something. And a lot of the institutional investors, when that happens, sell. It's called a redemption right, and retail investors are often left holding the dilution, or the significant costs of the bankers and the promoters. "So we're looking at greater disclosures and if there's inherent conflicts along the way. And then try to put this out to notice and comment and rule-making."

The big picture: SPACs are still going strong, despite talk that we're past the peak.

  • Four different SPACs priced IPOs in just the past day, raising $850 million. There also was a major SPAC merger (Pagaya) and several new SPAC formations.

The big risk for Gensler is that there will be a major SPAC debacle that could have been prevented by more timely rulemaking. But based on yesterday's hearing, in which crypto questions dominated, Congress would also take some heat.

The bottom line: The more things stay the same, the more they will eventually change.

Learn more about SPACs with our Get Smart video short course.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

Crypto faces the regulators

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Fittingly for a day in which Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler pulled no punches in his congressional testimony, the main theme running through the Blockworks crypto conference on Tuesday was undoubtedly regulation.

Why it matters: The crypto world both hates and needs regulation in equal measure.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
18 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.