Bart Chilton to leave CFTC: Good riddance

Blog first appeared in DanCollinsReport on Nov. 20, 2013

You would think that after six years Bart Chilton would have learned something about the Futures industry, instead he gives credence to slanted uninformed stories to appear to be a champion of the little man. Chilton is only champion of the little mind. (See his comments on this Bloomberg piece).

I was referring to his pseudo endorsement of the continuously slanted Bloomberg coverage of managed futures. He is so quick to attach his name to a potential controversy that he doesn’t look at the facts and doesn’t have the knowledge of the rules of the agency he is a commissioner of to have had any red flags go off in his head. You think he might have consulted with the National Futures Association that wrote a letter in response to the initial Bloomberg story in October explaining how they misreported the rules.

People like to joke about the more eclectic things that Bart Chilton does and says but The Futures industry is serious business and Bart Chilton simply is not a serious person. I am not referring to music references and funny sayings like Cheetah traders or massive passives. I am talking about a lack of understanding of the purpose of the industry. I am talking about jumping on political bandwagons and listening to outsiders without an examination of the facts that should be at his fingertips.

He exclaimed “At Last,” when the CFTC approved a position limit rule after the last one had been struck down in court. He said the agency must appeal the ruling on the first rule before the ink was dry on the judgment. He complains about how the agency is underfunded and then goes on these flights of fancy. Craig Pirrong who writes the “Streetwise Professor” blog and is a serious person wrote the following about the CFTC’s new position limit proposal, “It is an improvement on the earlier version, but still lacks a serious logical and empirical basis, try as the agency might to muster up a justification.”

Pirrong was highly critical of the CFTC’s original position limit proposal and Chilton’s advocacy of it.

Oddly Chilton didn’t say “At Last,” when the CFTC finally filed charges against Jon Corzine 20 months after he destroyed a 200+ year-old institution and nearly brought the industry to its knees. It did put a lot of introducing brokers, farmers and ranchers out of business; people the CFTC are charged to protect who still do not have the satisfaction of seeing Mr.  Corzine behinds bars but now face a CFTC rule reinterpretation that will force them to post as much as double the margin for the same positions. A rule by the way that would have allowed Corzine and MF Global to access more customer money to back their proprietary trading. They are being punished for being victims of Corzine’s crimes who remains free but Bart has his precious position limit rule.

Chilton seems willing to jump on any manipulation conspiracy thrown his way but had not sought to answer the simple question of why CFTC (Securities and Exchange Commission and Just Department as well) lawyers did not stand up at a Nov. 1, 2011 hearing for the MF Global bankruptcy and correct the record when an attorney for MF Global claimed there was no shortfall in customer segregated funds the day after the General Counsel for MF Global informed them that there was. If someone informed the judge of the facts of the case, it may have played out differently.

Perhaps the new position limits rule will be Chilton’s legacy, it certainly won’t be reasoned arguments or his advocacy on behalf of the victims of MF Global.

About the Author
Daniel P. Collins

Editor-in-Chief of Futures Magazine, Daniel Collins is a 25-year veteran of the futures industry having worked on the trading floors of both the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Dan joined Futures in 2001 and in 2005 he was promoted to Managing Editor, responsible for overseeing all the content that went into Futures and futuresmag.com. Dan’s incisive reporting and no-holds barred commentary places him among the most recognized national media figures covering futures, derivative trading and alternative investments.

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