Gary Gensler, the new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, is pushing for tougher enforcement on a raft of investment and compliance issues. But in the process, he seems to be causing a stir among the agency’s senior attorneys.

The SEC has seen high attorney attrition this year, according to a tally of moves from the agency, and those talking with internal SEC lawyers are expecting more attorney exits. Some former SEC lawyers say Gensler’s propensity to break up handshake settlement deals that were in process before he became chairman in April has created some distrust with current SEC staff, as well as his hard-charging approach to managing SEC lawyers. Meanwhile, law firm hiring demand appears to be driving some exits, too.