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CFTC under Giancarlo to review regulations: Update

15 Mar 2017, 3.04 pm GMT

CFTC under Giancarlo to review regulations: Update

Adds Giancarlo comments on position limits

Boca Raton, 15 March (Argus) — US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) acting chairman Christopher Giancarlo today vowed to reinterpret the agency's regulatory mission to spur economic growth and "right-size" its regulations.

Giancarlo announced his new agenda at an industry conference just hours after President Donald Trump nominated him as CFTC chairman. Giancarlo said he wants to review all CFTC rules and to find ways to apply regulations in a manner that is "simpler, less burdensome and less of a drag" on the economy.

US voters entrusted Trump to "turn the tide of over-regulation" in the government, including at the CFTC, Giancarlo said. US regulators need to put financial markets "fully back into the service" of an economic recovery that Giancarlo says has been tepid and has largely benefited those in large cities.

"The time has come for our financial markets, and the efforts of those who regulate them, to be put more fully back into service of American economic recovery," Giancarlo said at a conference held by the Futures Industry Association.

Giancarlo downplayed the likelihood Congress will repeal the parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law that gave the CFTC new authority over swaps. While the agency will collaborate with overseas regulators, Giancarlo said the CFTC will "fully embrace" the Trump administration's efforts to advance US interests in international financial regulatory negotiations.

"We are dedicated to making American markets highly effective to trade," he said. "They should be neither the least nor the most prescriptively regulated, but the best regulated, balancing market oversight, health and vitality."

Giancarlo said he wants to slow the pace of regulation now that the CFTC's implementation of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law is drawing to a close. The agency will provide more time for comment on rules and conduct more exhaustive economic studies before adopting new rules, he said. The CFTC on 13 March extended by 60 days the comment period on a proposal to set capital requirements for registered swap dealers.

Giancarlo said he would use the CFTC's position as a voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to address whether banks are being required to hold too much capital, to the detriment of commercial lending and the health of financial markets.

Even as he outlined plans for a lighter regulatory touch, Giancarlo vowed the agency will remain committed to ferreting out market manipulation. He plans to move the agency's market surveillance branch into its enforcement office to complement that goal.

"There will be no pause, let up or reduction in our duty to enforce the law and punish wrongdoing in our derivatives markets," he said.

Giancarlo in the past has questioned the CFTC's plans to adopt position limits on crude, natural gas, gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel, a regulatory effort that is still ongoing nearly seven years after passage of Dodd-Frank. Giancarlo said the agency will take the time it needs to get the rule right, but he rejected criticisms that the agency is moving too slowly.

"I have heard position limits called the eternal rulemaking," he said after the speech. "I will tell you what eternal rulemaking is: Eternal rulemaking is a bad rule that is adopted by the commission, and the commission thereafter spends years, or decades, with no-action relief, with guidance, with all types of workarounds because the rule was flawed to begin with."

Trump last month said his administration would be "cutting a lot of Dodd-Frank" because of his concerns that it is hindering economic growth and making it harder for banks to lend. Trump has yet to nominate officials to fill three open positions at the CFTC. Giancarlo earlier this week said the agency is unlikely to finalize major regulations until the commission returns to full strength.

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