06.20.2017
By Rob Daly

CFTC’s Bowen to Step Down

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been running a lean ship with only two active Commissioners. It is about to get leaner.

CFTC Commissioner Bowen announced her plans to step down as a commissioner well ahead of when her five-year term expires in 2019.

Sharon Bowen, CFTC

“I will say that this is definitely been a bittersweet decision,” said Commissioner Bowen said addressing the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee meeting. “As much as I relish my role as commissioner, I believe my leaving is best for the agency.”

However, she plans to keep the exact date of her departure private for now.

“My hope is that by leaving early I can inspire key policy decision makers to confirm four nominees as soon as possible,” said Commissioner Bowen.

She cited that without a full complement of commissioners to consider the implications of the CFTC’s decision that the regulator was frozen in place while the markets continue to move faster every day.

“Since the departure of CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad, the work of this agency has been hampered by only having a two-person Commission when we should be a five-person Commission,” Bowen noted. “In fact, we’ve not been a five-person Commission since the departure of Commissioner Scott O’Malia in August 2014. That is intolerable to me.”

Yet, having a single CFTC Commissioner likely will bring things to a head while the regulator adopts a “do nothing” strategy in the meantime, according to Brad Bailey, research director, securities and investments at Celent.

“You cannot have one Commissioner sitting there by himself trying to regulate the entire commodities and futures business without the proper staff,” he said.”However, there seems to be a philosophical desire not to actually put people in these roles.”

So far the Trump administration has nominated Acting Chairman Christopher Giancarlo to be the CFTC’s Chairman as well as Brian Quintenz and Dawn DeBerry to fill the seats left by Commissioner Scott O’Malia and Commissioner Mark Wetjen respectively but all are waiting for their Senate confirmations.

Commissioner Bowen also expressed admiration for the agency, its hardworking staff, and the leadership of Acting-Chairman Christopher Giancarlo.

She joined the CFTC as a Commissioner on June 24, 2014, after serving as vice chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corp. to which President Obama appointed her on February 12, 2010.

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