The media has been increasingly focused on a replacement for Commodities Future Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler, whose term expired April of 2012. While up until several months ago the White House had made public its desire to renominate him for chairman, there has never been confirmation from Gensler whether he wanted to retain his post or step down. After I posted a piece encouraging President Obama to renominate Gensler I was contacted by a CFTC official who said that Chairman Gensler definitively did not want to be renominated. This appears to be the first public statement about Chairman Gensler’s intentions.
The clearest statement that Chairman Gensler has made previously was in a March 5, 2013 Wall Street Journal article:
Mr. Gensler said in an interview that he plans to keep working on rules to regulate derivatives trading and hasn’t decided whether he will stay at the agency for a second term.
“I love this job, it’s a terrific job,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot to do.”
There are still many CFTC rules, stemming from Dodd-Frank, to complete and Gensler should stay to complete them. Under his leadership the CFTC has exposed the Libor abuses and has fought hand to hand battle with the largest global banks to move derivatives trading onto swap execution facilities (SEFs), increase price transparency and require counterparties to post more collateral for swaps trades. The latest and largest CFTC battle involves imposing CFTC rules on the foreign offices of U.S. firms like JP Morgan which experienced substantial losses in their London Whale swaps trades. Financial markets have been well served by Gensler’s tenure and it’s a shame that it will be ending.