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Forward Looking – Future Business Trends and Events

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Photo showing the Chief Economist heading a staff meeting.

The futures industry has undergone enormous growth and change during the last 20 years—in both the products that are traded and the platforms on which they are traded. As the Commission looks ahead, it expects that technology, globalization, and innovation will continue to drive growth in the markets it regulates. As a result of the recent financial crises, Congress is examining the existing regulatory structures of the financial services sector. Legislative movement toward strengthening regulatory oversight and bringing OTC markets into a regulated environment presents the potential for the Commission to acquire significant new responsibilities with attendant demands on its financial and human resources. Similarly, as innovative products cut across regulators’ traditional jurisdictions and pose difficult questions regarding who should be responsible for oversight, the Commission will need to devote resources to the harmonization of its regulations with those of other regulators, such as the SEC.

In FY 2006, the Commission experienced a wave of retirements, losing many experienced staff. The Commission has, since then, struggled to operate at the level needed to do the job required by statute. The Commission has repeatedly found itself making difficult choices about how to use its limited resources to fulfill its statutory mission. During FY 2008 and FY 2009, the Commission was able for the first time in several years, to begin rebuilding its staff. The Commission needs to continue to increase staffing levels to counter attrition and to have staff necessary to effectively oversee today’s ever growing and more complex markets.

As noted in the discussion of the net cost of operations, the Commission attempts to balance its investment in four strategic goals, each focusing on vital areas of regulatory responsibility. To continue to be an effective regulator, the Commission will need to place greater reliance on risk management. It will also need to continue to leverage systems and data maintained by other Federal agencies and, where possible, by SROs. The Commission will need to confront the jurisdictional challenges created by innovation and the expansion of futures and option markets on a worldwide basis. These challenges, coupled with a wide array of new surveillance issues, are expected to significantly change the way the Commission uses and allocates resources across its performance goals.





1 Refer to the CFTC Information Technology Systems in the Appendix for a description of functionality. (back to text)