Judd Gregg steps down at Wall Street group

Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) is stepping down as chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).

Gregg will no longer be SIFMA’s CEO but will stay on as a senior adviser, according to the trade group. The ex-senator took the job in May.

In a statement, Gregg said he wants to spend less time commuting to the nation’s capital.

“My decision to step down as CEO of SIFMA does not in any way diminish my commitment to and involvement in promoting the critical role a vibrant capital markets system plays in helping Americans succeed and Main Street prosper but only reflects my personal need to spend less time commuting to Washington from New Hampshire and slowing a hectic schedule,” Gregg said.

Gregg is also a columnist for The Hill.

As anticipated, former Rep. Ken Bentsen (D-Texas) on Thursday was appointed SIFMA’s new president and CEO.

Bentsen had been SIFMA’s president under Gregg and was a leading contender for the top job after Tim Ryan departed in February. Bentsen was previously SIFMA’s executive vice president of public policy and advocacy.

“Ken has been an outstanding member of the SIFMA management team for the past five years and we are pleased he will lead SIFMA in our important mission of ensuring trust in our financial markets and fostering an understanding of the important role effective and efficient capital markets play in financing a growing American economy,” said Jim Rosenthal, SIFMA’s chairman and chief operating officer at Morgan Stanley.

Bentsen thanked Gregg for staying on at the trade group as an adviser.

“SIFMA has the benefit of an outstanding member base and a talented employee team both of which I look forward to working with in this new role. Finally, my thanks go out to Judd for his extraordinary partnership since joining SIFMA and I am pleased he will continue to work with SIFMA in an advisory capacity,” Bentsen said.

Running SIFMA is one of the more high-profile trade group jobs in the influence industry.

SIFMA represents the biggest names in financial services, such as Bank of America, Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs. The trade group has spent more than $3.9 million on lobbying so far this year, according to disclosure records.

The top job at SIFMA also pays well. Ryan earned roughly $2.9 million in compensation in 2011, according to the trade group’s tax form for that year.

— This story was updated at 2:11 p.m.