Trump to nominate acting CFTC director Giancarlo as permanent president
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump plans to nominate J. Christopher Giancarlo to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulator tasked with overseeing the huge market for over-the-counter derivatives, the White House said Tuesday.
Giancarlo, a Republican, has been acting CFTC president since January 20 and was widely expected to be elected to the permanent post of president. He became a commissioner of the CFTC in 2014.
The nomination comes just one day before Giancarlo is expected to deliver a major policy speech at the Futures Industry Association’s annual conference in Boca Raton, Florida, where he plans to lay out his regulatory vision for the agency.
The CFTC gained broad new powers from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act of 2010 to regulate the swap market, which until then had been largely unattended.
Giancarlo previously served as executive vice president of financial services group GFI Group Inc. Throughout his tenure as commissioner of the CFTC, Giancarlo has been critical of the way the agency has implemented many of the new rules required by Dodd- Frank.
It issued a white paper in 2015, for example, which accused the CFTC’s regulatory framework of alienating global traders from the United States, fragmenting the market and increasing liquidity risk.
He has disagreed in other important areas of the policy, including a proposal requiring automated merchants to hand over confidential codes without a subpoena, something that Giancarlo said would “strip intellectual property owners of due process of law.”
As president, Giancarlo is likely to focus his energy on lowering rules that he believes are too burdensome to help fuel economic growth – a vision Jay Clayton also shares, choosing Trump to head the CFTC’s sister regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission. .
In a speech Monday to the Institute of International Bankers, Giancarlo criticized those who have focused heavily on preventing the financial crisis from repeating itself, saying the impact has been “putting capital aside for productive uses.”
However, if confirmed as president, Giancarlo could face some initial challenges in getting his agenda adopted.
Currently, the five-member panel is reduced to two commissioners: Giancarlo and Sharon Bowen, a Democrat. If the two of you disagree with a decision, the measure cannot be approved.
Giancarlo acknowledged this challenge in his speech Monday, saying the agency cannot proceed with a controversial position limits rule without full commission.
Trump has yet to nominate anyone for the remaining three seats.
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