Acting Chief Economist / Deputy Chief Economist
He joined the Commission in 2012. He supervises OCE’s research activities and its economic analyses in connection with Commission rulemaking and policy. His personal research includes the integration of data on swaps and futures activity, with an emphasis on equity and commodity derivatives. Prior to joining the Commission, he spent 15 years in the financial industry: as an alternative investments strategist and fund of hedge funds portfolio manager for Lyxor Asset Management, a subsidiary of Société Générale; as part of Bates White Economic Consulting’s Antitrust practice, where his cases involved allegations of commodity price manipulation, allegations of anticompetitive behavior, and antitrust analysis for the CME/CBOT merger; and as a quantitative and derivatives strategist at UBS. His research has been published in leading academic journals such as Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Derivatives, and Journal of Futures Markets. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University.
He joined the Commission in 2011. Currently he serves as a supervisory economist in OCE, guiding the academic research output of the office. Previously he served as the head of academic outreach at the OCE where he established numerous research collaborations with top academic researchers. His own research interests are centered on derivatives markets and market microstructure. His work contributes to the understanding of how market participants use derivatives markets, with a specific focus on the interaction of futures and swaps trading. He has also studied how the speed of trading and the changes in technology affect traders’ decisions and market outcomes. In addition to research, Esen has provided cost-benefit analyses for a variety of rulemakings, was instrumental in creating the Commission’s Weekly Swaps Report, and continues to contribute to the Commission’s international data harmonization efforts. Prior to joining the Commission, he was a professor of economics at California State University, Sacramento. His research has been published in leading journals such as Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Commodity Markets, Journal of Alternative Investments, Journal of Futures Markets, and International Journal of Finance and Economics. He received a Ph.D. in economics from University of Virginia.
Alexei joined the Commission in 2020. He leads research, economic analysis for rulemaking, data governance and analytics projects. He also represents the Commission in inter-agency and international fora, including FSOC working groups and IOSCO/FSB workstreams. Alexei was a financial economist at the SEC before joining the CFTC, and he was an economics professor before moving into civil service. His current research areas include market structure of exchange-traded and OTC markets, derivatives regulation, market quality, and network analysis of swaps markets. His research has been published in Economics Letters, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Quantitative Finance, Quarterly Journal of Finance, and other refereed outlets. Alexei’s Ph.D. in Economics is from the University of Virginia.
Senior Special Counsel
She joined the Office of the Chief Economist in 2015, after serving in the Office of the General Counsel’s regulatory and litigation groups since 1999. She works on cost-benefit considerations of CFTC regulations and provides counsel on all OCE-related matters. In her previous roles, she provided legal counsel on a number of CFTC rulemakings, interpretive guidance releases, and staff actions. She also has been involved in cases concerning the CFTC's exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of manipulation in the energy futures; the Commission’s statutory authority to freeze fraudulently received assets; and the distribution of FCM customer assets during insolvency. She received a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati Law School.
Lihong L. McPhail
Head of Academic Outreach / Research Economist
She joined the Commission in 2015. She develops and implements strategies to attract high-quality economic and finance academics and industry experts to partner with OCE staff on research projects. Meanwhile she provides economic analysis for numerous rulemakings and conducts research on how end-users use derivatives markets, how changes in policies impact markets, and how market participants make trading decisions. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a senior financial analyst with the Farm Credit Administration, where she developed and oversaw its comprehensive stress testing modeling and capital adequacy process. Prior to that, she conducted research on commodities and derivatives at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Her numerous articles have been published as book chapters and in journals such as Energy Journal, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Network Theory in Finance, Journal of Risk Management in Financial Institutions, The RMA Journal, and Energy Economics. She was a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) charter holder, and received a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.
He joined the Commission in 2018 where he conducts economic and statistical analysis of Part 45 swaps data. His research focuses on the IRS derivatives market and understanding the behaviors of market participants, risk transfer and market structure. Currently he helps produce the Entity-Netted Notionals and SOFR reports. Prior to joining OCE, he was at the Bureau of Labor Statistics working as an economist producing employment estimates for state and local areas. He received an M.A. in Economics from the University of Connecticut.
He joined the CFTC in 2019. His research focuses on commodity derivative markets and integrating data on futures, swaps, and cash markets. Prior to joining OCE he conducted research on U.S. farm business financial conditions and farm household well-being at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. His research has been published in journals such as Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Agricultural Finance Review, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, and Computational Statistics and Data Analysis. He received his Ph.D. in Resource Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
He joined the Commission in 2019. His research interests span commodity risk premiums, understanding contagion of shocks across markets, and studying the impact of real-life shocks on traders. His recent research focuses on network analysis of futures markets and risk premium in derivative markets. In addition to research, Alex has also worked on a variety of rulemaking initiatives impacting CTAs and CPOs at the commission. He received his Ph.D. in Finance from Michigan State University.
She consulted with the Commission since 2011, and joined full time in 2019. Her current research focuses on liquidity issues in futures and options markets. Her research interests include market microstructure, behavioral finance, derivative markets and financial innovation. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a finance professor at the University of Scranton and at Stevens Institute of Technology. Her papers have been published in journals such as Journal of Financial Markets, Journal of Commodity Markets, The Financial Review, and The Journal of Futures Markets. She received a Ph.D. in Finance from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (Baruch College).
He joined the Commission in 2010 and works on swaps regulation and CFTC policy. He was formerly a finance professor at the University of Houston, Brooklyn Polytechnic University, and Suffolk University, a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank, and a Policy Analyst at Office of Management and Budget. He has numerous publications in mathematics, statistics, and finance in journals such as the International Review of Financial Analysis and Financial Practice and Education. He earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Ohio State University.
She consulted with the Commission since 2015, and joined full time in 2016. She works on issues relating to central counterparties, including international studies on incentives to clear from the perspectives of clearing houses, FCMs and end users, and she provides economic analysis for futures rulemaking. Immediately prior to joining the Commission, she was a professor at the Finance Department at Louisiana State University. From 2008-2012, she was a visiting academic scholar at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where she worked on disclosure rulemakings relating to proxy access, ratings shopping, municipal securities, and the proxy voting system. She also worked on Dodd-Frank rulemakings, including oversight of credit rating agencies, incentive based compensation arrangements, and removal of regulatory references to credit ratings. Her research focuses on capital structure and corporate governance, with specific topics including credit ratings, financial leverage, incentive mechanisms, disclosure, private equity, municipal securities, securities and derivatives markets, financial intermediation, and financial regulation. Her papers have been published in leading academic journals such as Journal of Financial Economics and The Review of Financial Studies. She received a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.
He joined the Commission in 2018. He works on swap data collected by the Commission. His research focuses on credit markets, and trends in derivatives clearing. In his previous roles at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Bureau of Labor Statistics, his work focused on data quality management, and developing visualization tools to improve his team’s efficiency in analyzing large amounts of data. He received a M.A. in Economics from San Diego State University.
She joined the commission in 2023. Her research interests include energy market dynamics, advanced econometric analysis, and market microstructure. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a statistician with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, where she produced estimates and forecasts of oil and natural gas production, and published articles focusing on pricing dynamics, trends, and broader energy sector issues, offering in-depth market analysis and insights. She received an M.A. in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.
She joined the Commission in 2020. Her research interests include financial technology, the effects of information asymmetry, and algorithmic trading. Her recent research focuses on corporate finance and financial technology. Prior to joining the Commission, she was the Chief Economist at AVA Labs. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University.
Daniel L. Prager
He joined the Commission in 2019. His current research focuses on commodity swaps and futures. Prior to joining the Commission, he was a research economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, where he produced estimates and forecasts of farm household income, and published articles on issues related to farm and farm household economics. His research has been published in journals such as the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Research Policy, Applied Economics Perspective and Policy, and Agricultural Finance Review. He received a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
He joined the Commission in 2003. He performs economic analysis of Commission rulemaking and conducts research on a variety of topics in industrial organization and finance. Prior to joining the Commission, he was an Economist at the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. His work has been published in leading journals such as The American Economic Review, The Rand Journal of Economics, The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Law and Economics, and the Journal of Financial Economics. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA.
John S. Roberts
He joined the Commission in 2009. Prior to joining OCE, he spent three years in the Division of Market Oversight Surveillance section working on numerous projects utilizing order book, intraday transaction data and the large trader data. Within OCE, analysis has included swap data collected by the Commission. He has worked on rule makings and working groups to revise swap requirements and reporting rules. His research also focuses on market structure and algorithmic trading. Prior to joining the Commission, he worked at National Economic Research Associates (NERA) and the World Bank. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.
He joined the Commission in 2015, where he conducts statistical and economic analysis of swaps data. Prior to joining the Commission, he worked for more than 10 years in Enterprise Risk Management at Capital One, Countrywide, and Bank of America. In these roles he developed and implemented models for measuring risk-based capital and he performed quantitative analysis of portfolios of commercial loans, derivatives, mortgages and retail exposures. He was a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) charter holder, and received an M.S. in Banking and Finance from Case Western Reserve University.
Raymond P.H. Fishe
He has consulted with the Commission since 2009. He provides economic advice on the Commission’s rulemaking, supports enforcement investigations, and conducts quantitative analysis on the structure of derivatives markets and the strategic behavior of market participants. He holds the Patricia A. and George W. Wellde, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Finance at the University of Richmond, and was previously a visiting academic scholar at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He has written extensively on futures, options and market microstructure, and has published in leading journals such as The Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial Markets, The American Economic Review, Journal of Econometrics, and Financial Management. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Florida.
Michel A. Robe
He has consulted with the CFTC since 2006, where his work focuses on commodity market volatility, the organization and microstructure of derivatives markets, including algorithmic trading, and investor protection. He is The Clearing Corporation Foundation Professor in Derivatives Trading at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and previously taught derivatives and international finance at the University of Miami, McGill University, and American University. He has published numerous academic articles in books and in journals such as Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, International Economic Review, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Energy Journal, and Journal of Futures Markets. He received his Ph.D. in Financial Economics from Carnegie Mellon University.