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SPEECHES & TESTIMONY

  • Opening Statement, Meeting of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

    Chairman Gary Gensler

    August 4, 2011

    Good morning. This meeting will come to order. This is a public meeting of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to consider final rulemakings under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). I’d like to welcome members of the public, market participants and members of the media to today’s meeting, as well as those listening to the meeting on the phone or watching the webcast.

    During today’s meeting, the Commission will consider three final rulemakings:

    • The registration and regulation of swap data repositories (SDRs), which I will elaborate on in a moment;

    • The whistleblower program, which will incentivize whistleblowers to come forward about potential fraud, manipulation or other misconduct in the financial markets; and

    • The authorization of agricultural swaps transactions.

    Before we hear from the staff, I would like to thank Commissioners Dunn, Sommers, Chilton and O’Malia for their significant contributions to the rule-writing process. I also want to thank the CFTC’s hardworking staff for their efforts to implement the Dodd-Frank Act.

    The CFTC has turned the corner toward final rules, approving eight last month. One important final rule established that clearinghouses and swaps dealers must report to the CFTC information about the swaps activities of large traders, which will increase transparency in the commodity swaps markets.

    Today, we are building on this momentum with a final rulemaking to establish registration and regulatory requirements for Swap Data Repositories (SDRs) – a rule that the public asked us to move on early in the Dodd-Frank rulemaking process. Leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, swaps operated in the shadows. There was no requirement that financial institutions had to report the details of their swaps transactions to market regulators. With this rule, regulators – for the first time – will have specific information on the market’s scale and risk.

    When the rule is fully implemented, all swaps – whether cleared or uncleared – will be reported to a data collector registered with the Commission. SDRs will be required to verify the accuracy and completeness of all of the swaps data they accept and will have the capability to aggregate data for regulators and the public. The CFTC and other regulators will be able to monitor market participants for compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act as well as Commission regulations. And with this transparency, regulators can better police the swaps market for the benefit of the public.

    It is worthwhile to note again that the CFTC is committed to an open and transparent rulemaking process. Today is our 18th open meeting to approve proposed and final rules, and we’ll consider four more open meetings today.

    We have hosted 14 public roundtables, including one this week to seek greater input on international issues. Staff and commissioners have held more than 900 meetings with the public, all of which are listed at cftc.gov.

    The CFTC has engaged in significant outreach with other financial regulators – both foreign and domestic – to seek input on rulemaking. CFTC staff have met more than 600 times with other regulators on Dodd-Frank implementation.

    For the vast majority of proposed rulemakings, we have solicited public comments for 60 days. In April, we extended most comment periods for an additional 30 days, giving the public more opportunity to review the whole mosaic of rules at once.

    We’ve also reached out broadly on phasing of implementation, which is the timeline that our rules will take effect for various market participants. We are planning to request additional public comment on swap transactions requirements that affect the broad array of market participants because it may take some of them more time than others to comply with new regulatory requirements. Such phasing compliance may relate to: the clearing mandate, the trading requirement, and compliance with documentation and margining of uncleared swaps.

    We are steadily continuing our progress on final rules: in the early fall, we are likely to take up rules relating to clearinghouse core principles, position limits, business conduct and entity definitions. Later in the fall, we hope to consider rules relating to trading, real-time reporting, data reporting and the end-user exemption.

    But until the CFTC completes its rule-writing process and implements and enforces these new rules, the public remains unprotected.

    Before we hear from the staff on the rulemakings that we will consider today, I will recognize my fellow Commissioners for their opening statements.

    Last Updated: August 4, 2011



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