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Swaps regulator lashes out at House bill aimed at reforming agency
May 14, 2015 / 2:36 PM / 2 years ago

Swaps regulator lashes out at House bill aimed at reforming agency

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. derivatives market regulator on Thursday slammed a bill in the House of Representatives to reauthorize the agency, saying the new mandate would make it harder for it to quickly respond to market events.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has raised its profile significantly after the 2007-09 financial crisis, imposing billions of dollars of fines on large Wall Street banks that rigged the Libor interest rate benchmark.

“Many of the provisions in the bill ... are either unnecessary or impose requirements on the Commission that would make it harder to fulfill our mission,” CFTC Chairman Tim Massad said in a letter to Rep. Michael Conaway. Conaway heads the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the agency.

The Committee was meeting Thursday to vote on the bill to reauthorize the CFTC, something that needs to happen every five years. In practice, the agency has operated for several years without that stamp of approval.

The bill’s most controversial part includes reforms to the agency that would diminish the powers of the chairman while giving other members of the commission a greater say in decisions about regulating the swaps and futures markets.

Massad’s predecessor, Gary Gensler, often antagonized markets by pushing through his ambitious agenda at breakneck speed after the financial crisis, but Massad has taken many steps to fine-tune the rules since coming into office last year.

Many of the changes proposed in the bill, which aim to exempt non-speculative users of derivatives such as farmers and energy firms, have already been addressed, and there was no need to codify them into law, Massad said. (Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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