Release: 4617-02
For Release: March 11, 2002

CFTC Releases Report in Response to September 11th

Washington, D.C. -- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has released the first comprehensive public report by a federal financial regulator on its own responses and those by industry participants to the terrorist attacks on September 11th. The CFTC is the independent federal agency that oversees the trading of futures and option contracts based on agricultural, physical, and financial commodities ranging from corn to crude oil to interest rates.

The commodity futures and option markets play a critical role in the economy by providing businesses and investors in virtually every sector with important risk management tools and price discovery mechanisms. Some have suggested that had the New York Mercantile Exchange not succeeded in restoring operation of the crude oil futures market as smoothly and quickly as it did after the attacks, then domestic and global stock markets might have suffered.

The Commission, which lost its own regional office on the 37th floor of 1 World Trade Center has reached out to exchanges and market participants in a variety of ways since September 11th, including a roundtable discussion, a formal survey, and participation in industry panel discussions. These efforts were designed to solicit ideas on strengthening industry preparedness and to prompt further discussions in the area of contingency plans for disaster recovery and business continuity. Much has been learned already. For example, the New York Board of Trade, in response to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, had established a backup facility, complete with trading rings, support stations, telephone lines, and backup computer systems.

In announcing the report, Chairman James Newsome said “The Commission believes that preparedness planning is a vitally important task and should be the focus of continuous improvement efforts. We hope that this initial report will trigger the sharing of valuable insights and ideas among market participants, and with the Commission, as each member of this industry reexamines its policies, procedures, and practices for disaster recovery and business continuity.”

Both a summary and the full report can be accessed on the Commission’s website, Copies of the report may also be obtained by contacting the Commission’s Office of the Secretariat, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20581, (202) 418-5100.