Statement of Commissioner Bart Chilton on
CFTC's New Transparency Initiatives

September 4, 2009

Last year, I respectfully dissented from the Commission's issuance of recommendations relating to the staff’s special call survey of swaps dealers and commodity index traders. My action was based in large part on the belief that the report's recommendations simply did not go far enough—primarily because, based on the available data, they could not. I acknowledged that staff had accomplished a tremendous amount of work in a short period of time, and that their efforts were not the source of my dissatisfaction. Rather, I was frustrated that, at that time, the Commission had been unable to obtain accurate, verifiable data regarding over-the-counter transactions that may affect the futures markets. I also called for the Commission to exercise its authority to address issues that could have a deleterious effect on the pricing in and risk management functions of the U.S. futures markets. I did not call for radical action, but rather for an evaluation of current practices—such as the issuance of hedge exemptions and the classification of traders—to determine whether we, as a Commission, needed to change course in order to keep pace with the evolving markets.

Today I am gratified that the Commission has made and is considering many necessary changes. Our new transparency initiatives include enhanced data collection and analyses in support of what I hope will soon be monthly reports of index investment data. This will allow assessments to be made regarding the activities and price effects of various market participants based upon sound, reliable data. With regard to the disaggregation of data in our Commitments of Traders Reports, I believe this is a significant step toward providing more transparency to markets and market participants, and I look forward to receiving comments on this initiative.

I am encouraged that we have begun to make great strides in the interest of consumers and markets. Along with these new efforts, however, the Commission needs increased appropriations and additional human capital to carry out new responsibilities. In addition, it is my hope and expectation that we will continue to enhance not only the transparency of the markets, but also the transparency of the agency as we hold more public meetings and hearings. And we will continue to improve as Congress considers new legislation to enhance oversight and transparency of the over-the-counter markets. I personally commend the outstanding work of Chairman Gensler and all of my colleagues—Commissioners and staff alike—at the CFTC for their efforts in making these new transparency efforts available for businesses and consumers.

Last Updated: June 10, 2010