CFTC Chair Massad is latest finance regulator to leave

AP News
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Posted: Jan 03, 2017 8:19 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of a federal agency that oversees potentially risky financial market activities will leave office at the end of the Obama administration on Jan. 20.

Timothy Massad announced his resignation Tuesday as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. President Barack Obama appointed the corporate attorney and former Treasury Department official to the post in November 2013. His term doesn't end until 2019.

The CFTC regulates futures and options markets as well as derivatives trading, overseeing some of the riskiest corners of the financial world. Derivatives are traded in a $600 trillion global market and were blamed for fueling the financial crisis that struck in the fall of 2008.

Massad's announcement follows news in November of the impending departure of another key financial regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White.

President-elect Donald Trump is due to take office Jan. 20 and likely will name his own choices to head the two agencies. His nominees could move to unwind restrictions laid down by the agencies during the Obama administration.

Trump pledged in his campaign to throw out many of the stricter financial rules that Congress enacted to prevent another crisis.

Massad took over the CFTC from Gary Gensler, a 20-year veteran of Wall Street who surprised many by becoming a tough regulator pushing through stricter rules that the largest banks had lobbied against.

During his tenure, the agency adopted rules including collateral requirements for the riskiest derivatives trades and tighter oversight of clearinghouses that provide transparency in trading.

But Massad failed to complete final action on a revised rule aimed at clamping down on speculative trades that can drive up food and gasoline prices — something he had set as a goal at his Senate confirmation hearing. The CFTC's original rule was struck down in 2012 by a federal court.