Mr. Wetjen was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve a five-year term in March 2011 and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October 2011.
Subsequent to his confirmation as commissioner, Mr. Wetjen was unanimously elected to serve as the CFTC’s acting chairman upon the departure of the previous chairman, Gary Gensler, in late 2013. Mr. Wetjen served in that role for approximately five months, managing daily operations and setting overall policy direction of the agency. During his chairmanship, Mr. Wetjen oversaw implementation of the first trading mandate for certain interest rate and credit default swaps and approved or directed the agency and its staff to undertake approximately 95 enforcement and implementing actions related to the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFTC’s other responsibilities under the Commodity Exchange Act.
As acting chairman and sponsor of the CFTC’s Global Markets Advisory Committee, Mr. Wetjen was known as a strong advocate for improving the market structure and efficiency of the global derivatives markets through the harmonization of derivatives regulations. To that end, Mr. Wetjen actively participated in international dialogues on derivatives regulation through forums such as the Financial Stability Board and the International Organization of Securities Commissions. Notably, under his leadership, the CFTC’s staff adopted a novel regulatory approach to appropriately recognize certain derivatives-trading platforms located outside of the U.S.
As acting chairman, Mr. Wetjen also served as a principal on the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council and established priorities for the agency’s approximately $217 operating budget. With respect to the latter, Mr. Wetjen worked closely with the Administration and Congress to advocate for increased funding that would be commensurate with the increased responsibilities of the agency under the Dodd-Frank Act. Mr. Wetjen has testified several times before Congress on these and other matters.
As a commissioner, Mr. Wetjen has worked tirelessly to implement the Dodd-Frank Act, one of the signature accomplishments of President Obama’s first term, supporting and crafting over fifty proposed and final CFTC rules and orders to govern, and in many ways reshape, the swaps and futures markets. Mr. Wetjen earned a reputation during this rulemaking process as an independent pragmatist for thoughtfully considering, among other things, the practical compliance challenges often posed by the CFTC’s rapid pace of rulemaking. In honoring his pledge to the U.S. Senate to bring an open mind and a balanced approach to the job of CFTC commissioner, Mr. Wetjen has held more than 300 external meetings to discuss pending CFTC rules and related actions with representatives of all interested parties, including financial and commercial end-users, public interest groups, exchanges, intermediaries, clearinghouses and both domestic and foreign regulators.
In addition, Mr. Wetjen has supported over 100 enforcement actions as a commissioner, including those relating to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). The LIBOR cases alone have resulted in historic fines of more than $1.2 billion.
Prior to joining the CFTC, Mr. Wetjen worked for seven years in the U.S. Senate as a senior leadership staffer advising on all financial-services-related matters, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Mr. Wetjen also advised Senator Harry Reid and members of the democratic caucus on a number of banking, housing, communications, technology, and gaming policy issues and legislative initiatives.
Before his service in the U.S. Senate, Mr. Wetjen was a lawyer in private practice and represented clients in a variety of litigation, transactional and regulatory matters. Born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, Mr. Wetjen received a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University and a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. He lives with his wife and two sons on Capitol Hill.