Gensler: Regulation doesn’t go far enough

Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler believes proposed regulation by the Obama administration to govern derivative markets could contain loopholes.

Gensler tells the Washington Post that the legislation leaves significant elements of the market out of the reach of regulators and undermine efforts to combat fraud.  Of particular concern to Gensler is:

  •  certain types of derivatives used to bet on currencies could be exempt from regulators
  • minor derivative traders would not have to meet the robust trading requirements envisioned by the legislation.

He does, however, support the legislation:

A top federal regulator has urged Congress to adopt tougher rules to govern betting in exotic financial instruments known as derivatives than the Obama administration has proposed, warning that the administration’s new vision of market regulation could contain loopholes.

One of the Obama administration’s top priorities in its revamp is to regulate both derivatives and firms that trade them. READ MORE.

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Congress considers regulating derivatives

The Washington Post has a story about how Congress is debating legislation whether to regulate derivatives.

The legislation includes establishing a single agency to oversee credit and mortgage lending, to give the Federal Reserve new powers, and to tighten regulations over a host of financial firms and practices:

The Obama administration formally proposed legislation on Tuesday to regulate exotic financial instruments known as derivatives, the final piece of the broad rework of financial regulations to be delivered to Congress. READ MORE.

Brodsky calls for merger of CFTC and SEC

Reuters has a story about William Brodsky, CEO of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), saying in a written statement there’s a “compelling need” to merge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Brodsky was scheduled to testify at a House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearing on Friday about the Obama administration’s plan to reshape financial regulation amid the worst banking and capital markets crisis in generations. READ HERE.

Learsy questions banks over role in oil speculation

Raymond J. Learsy, scholar and author of the Over a Barrel: Breaking Oil’s Grip on Our Future, has written an interesting piece in the Huffington Post that’s worth a read.

In his piece, Learsy looks at how investment banks turned bank holding companies like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have used the Tarp fund and other taxpayer bailout money from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and Treasury to speculate heavily in oil markets instead of lending to businesses and financing mortgages, which the money was intended for:

Here we go again. The same Financial Class that brought us to the edge of economic meltdown is now pressing its well connected pals and cronies on Wall Street, in Congress as well as its allies in the press and our OPEC cheering oil industry, to lay hands off the continued stripping America’s wealth through the gamed racket and egregiously profitable world of oil futures trading.

This week the Commodity Futures Exchange Commission (CFTC), responding to a national and international outcry that enough is enough, and in keeping with the Obama administration’s goal of tougher oversight, has finally decided to act. Reacting to Congressional pressures, a struggling industrial landscape and a beleaguered public, the CFTC announced that a series of restrictions on energy trading would be set forth. And here the CFTC and the American public’s outrage is not alone. Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal printed an Op-ed Essay (July 8,2009) jointly written by Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Great Britain and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France calling for “transparency and supervision of the oil futures market in order to reduce damaging speculation” (The WSJ, signaling its take on the issue placed the piece at the bottom of its pg.15 Opinion column). READ HERE.

Geithner wants OTC derivatives traded on exchanges

A story from the Oil & Gas Financial Journal about U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talking about greater reglation for over-the-counter derivatives (OTC).

OTC derivatives are a type of contract used on the commodity exhange. They are privately negotiated and traded directly between two parties, without going through an exchange or other intermediary. CLICK HERE to read more about OTC derivatives.

Geithner says the Obama administration would like all standardised derivative contracts cleared through well-regulated central counterparties and executed either on regulated exchanges or regulated electronic trading systems.

Geithner says the reforms should not limit businesses’ efforts to manage financial risk (hedge):

“We want to preserve their capacity to participate in bilateral transactions as hedges as we increase overall protection for investors,” Geithner told a joint hearing of the U.S. House Agriculture and Financial Services Committees. READ HERE.

CFTC hopeful of new regulation by late October

A follow up story by Reuters about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s process and plans for regulating excessive speculation in the commodity market.

For those who have not been following this story, the CFTC’s moves are part of the Obama administration’s plans to tighten U.S. financial regulation and prevent another banking and market crisis.  Critics have  argued the global financial meltdown over the past several months was caused by laxity in the financial markets:

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will move aggressively to rein in excessive speculation in energy and commodity markets by focusing on expanding its existing authority and could have new regulations in place by late October.

Bart Chilton, one of five commissioners at the CFTC, said he could not predict what the agency will do, but he would like to see the proposed rules issued in September, then implemented by late October or November after a period of public comment. READ HERE

As a keen supporter of tighter regulation on the commodity exchnge,  Commodify Me! will be following the develpoments of this story with great interest and will be providing comment once details of the CFTC’s plans are a little clearer.