Public Statements & Remarks

Opening Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz before the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee

March 24, 2020

Good morning, and welcome to the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC or Committee).  This is a challenging time for our nation and financial markets. I thank the Committee members and associate members for joining us today.

Recognizing our committee members’ attention to current events, we have postponed our discussion on the position limits rulemaking.  Instead, members of the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight will brief the Committee on the recent developments and volatility in the derivatives markets.  In times of market stress, it is critical that our markets be transparent and that participants have accurate and up-to-date information.

A reliable supply of energy is central to this country’s infrastructure and economy, both under normal circumstances and in national emergencies.  We need energy to continue to operate our industries and facilities, manufacture needed supplies, transport supplies and emergency personnel to where they are needed, operate our communications infrastructure, and heat and cool our homes, hospitals, and workplaces.  I would like to express my gratitude to our fellow citizens in the energy industry who are working to provide these essential services to the American people.

The CFTC remains focused on protecting the integrity of the derivatives markets.  In addition to our own monitoring, we are in daily—and often more frequent—communication with our exchanges, clearinghouses, and intermediaries.  We are committed to ensuring that the derivative markets remain able to fulfill their central purposes of price discovery and risk management.  We also are committed to maintaining market participants’ access to these markets, while not compromising market integrity.  To date, derivatives markets have been functioning effectively, but we are vigilant as conditions evolve.

The CFTC’s Market Intelligence Branch has been leading daily briefings over the past few weeks to apprise Commissioners and staff of market developments.  During these briefings, the CFTC’s operating divisions share key data for the markets we oversee and analyze potential areas of risk.  I thank CFTC staff, including our presenters today, for working around the clock to keep pace with these developments, and for their dedication to this agency and to the markets we regulate.

Presenting today will be three members of the CFTC’s Market Intelligence Branch:  Chief Market Intelligence Officer, Mel Gunewardena, and Market Analysts Chris Goodenow and Mike Nouri.

I would like to welcome the Chairman and Commissioners, who are joining today’s Committee meeting.  I’d like to express my appreciation for the Chairman’s leadership in protecting the health and safety of all of us at the CFTC, and to each of the Commissioners for their hard work and collaboration in meeting the challenges we face.

Most of us at the CFTC are teleworking in order to protect our staff and our fellow citizens.  I’d like to recognize our Office of Data and Technology for enabling us to telework and for setting up this meeting.  I hope today’s Committee meeting will give market participants and the public a glimpse into how the Commission is adapting to the circumstances and continuing to accomplish its mission.

I would also like to thank a few people who have made this meeting possible, including Dena Wiggins, President and CEO of the Natural Gas Supply Association and the Chair of the EEMAC; Abigail Knauff, the EEMAC Secretary; Lucy Hynes of my staff; and Michelle Ghim from the Office of General Counsel.

Finally, we intend to reschedule the position limits meeting to early May.  We will host that meeting remotely if necessary, so please stay tuned for further details from Abigail regarding the format and schedule of that meeting.

Thank you.