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U.S. commodities regulator head to step down on Inauguration Day

By Lisa Lambert

By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. derivatives and commodities regulator officially offered his resignation on Tuesday, saying he would step down on Jan. 20, the day of the presidential inauguration.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Timothy Massad had said he expected to leave once President-elect Donald Trump took office and he hoped for a smooth transition in handing the regulatory reigns over to the sole Republican commissioner, J. Christopher Giancarlo.

Massad plans to stay on as a commissioner for a few weeks after stepping down to close out administrative matters, according to the CFTC.

Since he took the chair two and a half years ago, Massad has raced to set up regulations for carrying out the many new responsibilities the CFTC was given by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Massad said in a statement that the commission had made "significant progress" in creating regulations for swaps and in "the areas posing the greatest risk to the financial system."

Giancarlo has already signaled that he will move the CFTC's agenda beyond implementing Dodd-Frank and has repeatedly criticized the commission's work with its international counterparts. By implementing new rules on derivatives trading first, the United States has given markets in other countries an advantage and created "regulatory arbitrage," he has said.

Massad countered Giancarlo's position in his good-bye statement on Tuesday.

"We have improved international coordination by harmonizing rules in many areas, strengthening relationships, and working with other regulators on oversight of markets, all of which has reduced inconsistency and the risk of regulatory arbitrage," he said.

"And we have taken action to address the new challenges and opportunities in the derivatives markets, particularly cyber threats, clearinghouse resilience, and the increased use of automated trading," he also said.

(Additional reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Eric Beech and Sandra Maler)

 

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