CFTC reauthorization comments sought

Published on: Mar 7, 2013

Senate Agriculture Committee leaders will begin the process of reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The reauthorization comes at an important, but challenging time as domestic regulators such as the CFTC continue to implement the Wall Street reforms and work to harmonize measures globally. Major company collapses under CFTC's watch such as MF Global and Peregrine also point to the need to institute ways to better protect customers.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) and ranking member Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) sent a letter to the public and other stakeholders March 5 asking for conversations about a broad range of CFTC-related issues including market oversight, agency oversight and resources and statutory authorities.

“Reauthorization is an opportunity to critically examine these markets and weigh policy changes that would help protect markets and the public,” Stabenow said at a Committee hearing Feb. 27 conducting CFTC oversight. “These markets, whether for physical goods or financial products, must be orderly, transparent, competitive and safe for trading. We must have markets that allow farmers and business owners to manage risk without fear. That also means our ‘cops on the beat’ must have the resources they need to do their jobs.”

Recommendations can be submitted to cftcauthorization@ag.senate.gov by May 1, 2013 to be considered.

At the CFTC hearing, Stabenow encouraged CFTC officials to finalize rules and finish implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler testified that after over two-and-a half years since Dodd-Frank passed and with 80% of its rules finalized, the market is moving to implementation. "Thus, it’s the natural order of things that market participants have questions and have come to us for further guidance. The CFTC welcomes inquiries from market participants, as some fine-tuning is expected," he said.

Stabenow noted after the hearing that the CFTC is further ahead than other agencies in implementing this law, but "there are still many outstanding issues to address, including a final rule on Swaps Execution Facilities, cross-border guidance, and compliance with the law,” she said. “I continue to be concerned that if the agency doesn’t have the tools it needs implement reform and oversee these markets, we are asking for a repeat of the crisis that cost us so many jobs.”