Statement of Commissioner Brian D. Quintenz on the End of His Term and Future Plans
August 19, 2021
I am deeply honored to have served as a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over the last four years. My statutory term expired in April of 2020. At that point, I announced I would not seek re-nomination to another five-year term. I originally anticipated stepping down from my role by either October-end of last year or once my replacement had been confirmed. Without a successfully appointed replacement, I decided to remain in my role this year to ensure my voice was heard as important derivatives market and financial innovation issues were raised during the administration’s transition.
Now, with four years having passed since I was sworn in and an end-of-year hard stop to my ability to continue serving in this role, it is time for me to pursue new challenges and opportunities. I will step down as a Commissioner on August 31st, 2021.
Since joining the agency, I have strived to build my service around three broad themes: ensuring the Commission is focused on risks, with rules appropriately tailored to those risks; embracing the rapid advancement of technology, opportunity, and innovation in finance; and working for enhanced coordination, harmonization, and deference among domestic and international regulators.
One of my top priorities as a Commissioner has been to ensure that the CFTC focuses its expertise and resources on identifying risks in our derivatives markets and developing targeted, appropriate responses to those specific risks—as opposed to prior approaches that too often imposed one-size-fits-all regimes. From calling for an overhaul of the swap dealer de minimis threshold, to tailoring the re-proposal of the swap dealer capital rule, changing the CFTC’s proposed approach to cross-border swap dealer regulation, completing a ten-year-in-the-making final rule on position limits, and opposing the ill-conceived Regulation Automated Trading while helping replace it with a principles-based approach, I am proud to have played a positive role in promoting sound regulation respectful of risk, the law, the markets, and the public.
I’ve been particularly honored to sponsor the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC), where we’ve had the opportunity to explore the extraordinary technological renaissance transforming our financial markets. During my term, the CFTC has overseen the listing of Bitcoin futures contracts; the custody of digital assets within the traditional clearing infrastructure; the proliferation of blockchain technology; the creation of cryptographic, tokenized commodities; and the rapid expansion of decentralized finance (DeFi), which purports to realize the ultimate transparency-competition-innovation-reward dynamic of a true free market. In addition, the TAC and its subcommittees have explored the evolution of state-of-the-art risk control mechanisms at exchanges and firms, cryptographic proofing mechanisms, digital asset trading platform self-regulation standards, and scalable cybersecurity programs. I look forward to keeping innovation, particularly related to crypto and DeFi, relevant to my career and will continue advocating for the freedom, innovation, inclusion, and prosperity they offer.
While the CFTC is a domestic regulator, the markets we oversee are global in nature, and our regulations have global impact. During my tenure, I have traveled extensively overseas, meeting with authorities and financial institutions to discuss the impact of financial regulations on international commerce. I have long advocated for authorities across the globe to adopt a deference-based regulatory framework that respects other jurisdictions’ supervisory interests in regulating their own local markets. I am proud to have helped craft the Commission’s rules regarding the treatment of non-U.S. derivatives clearing organizations (DCOs), including the conditions under which the non-U.S. DCOs may seek an exemption from registration or registration with alternative compliance, as well as the final rule codifying the cross-border regulation of swap dealers, all of which are grounded in respect for our legal authorities, market participants’ needs, and deference to foreign sovereignty.
In addition, I have worked to harmonize financial market rules across agencies. I am incredibly fortunate to have worked closely with Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Hester Peirce on coordinating and harmonizing regulations, processes, and overlapping jurisdictional issues between our agencies and am especially grateful for her thoughtful advocacy, extensive communication, extraordinary productivity, and personal friendship. Her leadership on issues related to crypto assets and DeFi is the model for regulatory clarity and the appropriate role of governmental regulation balanced with individual freedom and dynamic innovation.
I am proud of the regulatory philosophy I articulated, the policy agenda I promoted, and the relationships I built over the last four years.
I am grateful to President Obama for my initial nomination, to President Trump for my successive nomination and appointment, and to Republican Leader McConnell for his recommendation. The agency has been fortunate to have enormously dedicated public officials leading our Congressional committees of jurisdiction over the last many years, including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member John Boozman, and prior Chairman Pat Roberts; House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson, prior Chairman Collin Peterson, and prior Ranking Member Mike Conaway. It has been a true pleasure to work with them and their staffs, as well as to visit each of their states and districts. I am also fortunate to have served alongside two fantastic former CFTC Chairmen, Christopher Giancarlo and Heath Tarbert, current Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam, as well as Commissioners Dawn Stump and Dan Berkovitz.
I would also like to recognize the CFTC’s excellent staff. The staff at the CFTC is second to none, and I greatly value the staffers’ dedication to public service and the hard work they perform to oversee and protect our markets.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of my prior commissioner-office staff – Kevin Webb, Margo Bailey, Peter Kals, Elie Mishory, and Ben DeMaria – without whom the above accomplishments would not have been possible. They are simply the best attorneys in the business, enormously respected within the agency and by market participants, wonderful people, and close friends.
In sum, I am incredibly proud to have played a role in promoting the integrity of the U.S. financial system through advocating for freedom and innovation and helping develop sound, risk-focused regulation so that U.S. financial markets, especially the risk-hedging derivatives markets, remain the most liquid, dynamic, accessible, robust, and resilient in the world. The proof of that resiliency is evident in the derivative markets’ performance in the face of unprecedented volatility, margin calls, and trading volume in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis and economic shut down. The extraordinarily dedicated and talented CFTC staff, as well as exchange operators, intermediaries, and market participants, should be proud of those results.
I look forward to returning to the private sector for the next chapter of my career and will continue to be a strident advocate for financial market innovation, freedom of market participation, derivatives market integrity, and sound financial regulation.