CFTC to move from rule writing to implementation

March 11, 2015 08:50 AM

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Thank you for inviting me today, and I thank Walt for that kind introduction.  It is a pleasure to be here.  This is my first time to the International FIA Conference here, an event that I have heard a lot about.  And, of course, with the winter we have been having in Washington, being here is a real treat.

Let me begin by acknowledging the work that the Futures Industry Association and its members do.  Your commitment to improving the industry, and your participation in the work of the Commission, is very important.

I want to also acknowledge and thank the CFTC staff.  What this agency has accomplished, not only since my arrival, but well before that, is a credit to their hard work.  We have an incredibly dedicated and talented team.  I also thank my fellow commissioners for their efforts, particularly their willingness to work constructively together.  We may not always agree, but I believe all of us are working in good faith to carry out the CFTC’s responsibilities.

Everyone here appreciates the importance of the derivatives markets.  They enable businesses of all types to manage risk, and in so doing, are engines of economic growth.  The success of these markets depends on many factors, and a key one is having a strong and sensible regulatory framework.

We knew that before the global financial crisis, but the crisis certainly drove that lesson home.  The absence of regulation allowed the build-up of excessive risk in the over-the-counter swaps market.  That risk intensified the crisis and the damage it caused.  We must never forget the true costs of the crisis:  millions of jobs lost, homes foreclosed and dreams shattered.

As a result of the financial crisis our country took action to address those risks.  We are implementing a new regulatory framework for swaps, one that mandates central clearing and brings greater transparency, reporting and oversight.  The CFTC’s responsibility today is to regulate the derivatives markets in a manner that not only prevents the build-up of excessive risk, but also creates a foundation on which the derivatives markets can continue to thrive and work for the many businesses that rely on them.

So today I would like first to review briefly some of the things we have done recently, and some of the things we will be doing in the months ahead.  And then I want to discuss a key aspect of that new framework, which is the role of clearinghouses.  In particular, I want to discuss the issue of clearinghouse resiliency, because this is an issue that has been a priority for us and has received increased public attention lately.

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