Release Number 8059-19

October 24, 2019

Chairman Tarbert Announces Elevation of LabCFTC

Artificial Intelligence Primer Released by LabCFTC at Annual Fintech Conference

Washington, DC — At the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Fintech Forward conference today, Chairman Heath P. Tarbert announced LabCFTC will become an independent operating office of the CFTC, reporting directly to the Chairman.

“LabCFTC was established to be a beachhead in the emerging world of fintech,” said Chairman Tarbert. “Blockchain, digital assets, and other developments hold great promise for our economy. Now is the time for LabCFTC to play an even greater role as we work to develop and write the rules for these transformative new products. That reality requires engagement at the highest levels within the CFTC, which is why I am elevating LabCFTC to be an independent operating office of the agency and a direct report to me.”

Established within the Office of General Counsel in 2017 under then-Chairman Chris Giancarlo, LabCFTC was designed to be the agency’s focal point to engage with fintech innovators and promote responsible innovation. The office is currently led by Director and Chief Innovation Officer Melissa Netram, who was recently appointed by Chairman Tarbert and previously served as a policy and regulatory affairs executive at Silicon Valley-based Intuit.

“LabCFTC has done fantastic work since its inception to examine emerging fintech issues and bring together innovators and regulators,” said General Counsel Dan Davis. “The Chairman’s elevation of LabCFTC reflects its growth and importance as well as his pro-innovation mindset for the agency.”

“I want to thank Dan for his outstanding leadership overseeing this important initiative,” added Chairman Tarbert.

“Progress depends on how well regulators respond to financial innovation,” said Netram. “LabCFTC is at the forefront of exploring and examining the value of innovation in our financial markets and making our agency accessible to fintech innovators. I’m excited to be a part of the agency and believe the elevation of the office speaks to the value and commitment the Chairman is placing on fostering innovation at the CFTC.”

LabCFTC Artificial Intelligence Primer

In conjunction with today’s conference, LabCFTC also released its primer on Artificial Intelligence in Financial Markets, as an educational tool for market participants, consumers, and the public. The primer is part of a series produced by LabCFTC to provide fundamental and essential information about fintech innovation.

“AI’s power to analyze vast pools of data to detect patterns and generate insights presents great opportunities to enhance the integrity of our derivatives markets,” added Netram. “This primer provides an overview of how AI is applied in financial markets and further illustrates the CFTC’s commitment to AI and innovation.”

About CFTC’s Fintech Forward Conference

Fintech Forward is an annual conference spearheaded by LabCFTC with support from the Office of Consumer Education and Outreach. Launched in 2018, the event convenes leading innovators, regulators, market participants, and the general public to discuss the latest in fintech developments and the impact of these emerging technologies on the CFTC’s markets and customers. The conference is a free event and open to the public.