Release Number 8135-20
March 18, 2020
ICYMI: Chairman Tarbert Highlights CFTC’s COVID-19 Response
Washington, D.C. — Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman and Chief Executive Heath P. Tarbert highlighted the agency’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic today in an interview on Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast, as well as in an op-ed for FoxBusiness.com. The CFTC also unveiled today a new coronavirus-focused webpage, cftc.gov/coronavirus, featuring a video message from Chairman Tarbert, a catalogue of the agency’s coronavirus-related regulatory relief, a new CFTC Customer Advisory, and public health resources.
Message from Chairman Tarbert on CFTC’s COVID-19 Response
Chairman Tarbert Op-ed: Coronavirus Crisis -- How CFTC is Tackling Major Economic Threat
“Even on a typical day, the U.S. derivatives markets see more than $4 trillion in notional trading activity. But with the coronavirus pandemic rocking global markets, the last few weeks have been anything but typical. At a minimum, we are now confronting the biggest economic threat since the Great Recession.
“Yet despite the historic levels of volatility seen in recent weeks, Americans are relying on derivatives markets more than ever. The number of futures, options, and swaps contracts and trades has surged to an all-time high. Businesses—from farmers and ranchers to manufacturers to small banks—use our markets to protect themselves from risk, something that is now in abundant supply.
“As Chairman and Chief Executive of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), I lead the federal agency charged with providing sound regulation of the U.S. derivatives markets so they continue to have the integrity, resilience, and vibrancy on which Americans and the rest of the world depend. The coronavirus has raised the stakes, and we at the CFTC are tackling this challenge head on.
“It may seem counterintuitive, but despite the record volatility, the derivatives markets have been quite resilient. We know this thanks to the advanced monitoring and surveillance tools we deploy on a daily basis that enable us to know what is going on throughout the trading day.
“The CFTC is coordinating closely with our exchanges to monitor individual market infrastructures to ensure trading continues and all financial obligations are met. We are especially focused on the critical “pipes” at the clearinghouses through which trades are margined and settled. We are also checking regularly with our registrants to make sure they are protecting customer assets and meeting their financial obligations.
“Market infrastructures continue to operate seamlessly. Clearinghouses have issued—and brokers and dealers have all met—margin calls occurring multiple times each day. Meanwhile, circuit breakers, the “limit down” mechanism, and other safeguards have helped mitigate volatility. The value of investments may have dropped significantly, but the markets have not frozen as some did in 2008.
“We are also maintaining clear and frequent communication with all relevant stakeholders, including Congress and our fellow financial regulators here in America and overseas. Information-sharing agreements among domestic and foreign regulators—largely uncommon a decade or two ago…”
Read the full op-ed on FoxBusiness.com
Chairman Tarbert on Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast