Release Number 8325-20

CFTC Chairman Tarbert Announces Members of the Agricultural Advisory Committee’s New Ag-OI Subcommittee

December 02, 2020

— Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath P. Tarbert today announced the members of the Agricultural Advisory Committee’s (AAC) new Agricultural Futures Contracts with Open Interest Subcommittee (Ag-OI Subcommittee). The 22-member subcommittee will be chaired by Dr. Joseph Janzen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois.

“I could not be more pleased that we have such a diverse and experienced group of individuals who expressed interest in serving on this subcommittee,” said Chairman Tarbert, who serves as the AAC’s sponsor. “I look forward to the members’ input regarding how we can better fulfill our statutory duty in approving amendments to futures contracts based on enumerated agricultural commodities when those changes will apply to open interest. Ultimately, more clarity in this space could help exchanges minimize risk to market participants and themselves.”

The subcommittee is comprised of experts from leading U.S.-based commodity exchanges, the agricultural and banking sectors, as well as intermediaries in agricultural commodity markets and academic disciplines focused on the design of agricultural futures contracts. Each member has demonstrated expertise in the design and use of agricultural futures contracts.

“I am honored to participate in this effort to proactively manage the process for amending existing agricultural futures contracts,” said Dr. Janzen. “Many businesses, including America’s farmers and ranchers, rely on these futures markets for price discovery and risk management. Markets only do this when futures contract design and trading rules are transparent and balance the demands of all participants. I am excited to work collaboratively with the members of the subcommittee to help make markets more resilient during periods of volatility.”

The subcommittee was established to provide recommendations to the AAC for Commission policy related to the implementation of amendments to futures contracts based on enumerated agricultural commodities when those amendments would apply to contract months with open interest. Topics and issues this subcommittee may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Commodity Exchange Act, regulations, and guidance pertaining to Designated Contract Market (DCM) requests for Commission approval of amendments to enumerated agricultural futures contracts with open interest;
  • Recent history of Commission-approved amendments to futures contracts, including the term or condition amended, ability of that term or condition to impact the economic value of futures positions, rationale provided by the DCM, date announced, and date implemented;
  • Terms and conditions that could impact the economic value of futures positions, what the Commission should consider in terms of evaluating the implementation plans for those amendments, and whether there could be best practices developed for implementation of any amendments to those terms or conditions; and
  • Appropriate methods to make market participants and the public aware of the potential for an enumerated agricultural futures contract with open interest to be amended.