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By Richard Hill
The Senate Agriculture Committee will vote June 29 on the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to head the CFTC.
Giancarlo, currently acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, got a warm reception from committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) when he testified at his June 22 confirmation hearing.
Roberts said Giancarlo was “abundantly qualified” to lead the agency on a permanent basis, and that Giancarlo has shown he understands that the CFTC’s main mission is to foster open and transparent derivatives markets. Roberts praised Giancarlo’s initiative to better understand and utilize financial technology, as well as his project to use public input to review how every CFTC rule is implemented.
In prepared remarks to the committee, Giancarlo highlighted his travels as a commissioner to rural areas of the country to meet with farmers, ranchers, and other commercial users of derivatives. A former executive at swaps brokerage GFI Group Inc., Giancarlo began at the CFTC as a commissioner in 2014.
Senate confirmation wouldn’t immediately change the dynamic of the agency, where the acting chairman serves with Sharon Bowen, who holds a Democratic seat. The Agriculture Committee is currently vetting two Republican picks for the agency--Dawn Stump and Brian Quintenz.
Bowen recently announced she would leave the agency in the coming months, expressing frustration with only having two commissioners. The White House hasn’t put forth any potential Democratic successors to Bowen or for another seat reserved for a Democrat.
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