With the failure of the current Commodity Futures Commission to do much to fulfill its statutory mandate I thought of Gary Gensler, the 11th Chairman of the CFTC. By all measures he is the most impressive who has ever served.
Gensler had made his fortune as one of the leadership of Goldman Sachs, which was and still is one of the elite brokerage firms in the world. Some on Capitol Hill were leery of him at first because he came from the financial industry. However, he quickly put those concerns to rest .
He was at the center of dealing with the 2008 financial crises. That involved the $400 trillion over-the- counter derivative or swaps market. This legislation is known as Dodd-Frank, but the correct name is “The Wall Street Reform Consumer Protection Act of 2010”.
What none of official records indicate is Gensler’s role in lobbying Congress to give him the statutory authority to do his job. In January 2010 he engineered the formation of the Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition and the Americans for Financial Reform Coalition.
I know all of this because I was a member of of these coalitions and helped in meeting with Congress. Gensler would meet with us on a weekly basis. The titular head was a Hedge Fund manager domiciled in the US Virgin Islands and an office in Atlanta. However, Gensler met with us on a weekly basis and was our real leader.
I was able to participate on a pro bonobasis because I had recently lost my representation of the Chicago Board of Trade after it was acquired by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange In 2018. I remained a part of the Coalition until I was hired by old friend John Damgard, President of the Futures Industry Association. I remained there until he retired a few years ago.
Unfortunately, the current leadership of the CFTC has not shown the same kind of leadership that Gensler has. They are allowing one large clearing member, INT FCStone, to get away with avoiding responsibility for hundreds of millions of dollars of losses from themselves to innocent investors. Despite Freedom of Information Act Requests I have been unable to determine the amount. Either they don’t know, or don’t want to know.
To their credit, the CFTC had acted forcefully in 2013 when they imposed a fine of $1.5 million on INT FCStone in 2013 and forced them to swallow $127 million in losses.
I long for the days of Gary Gensler !
Michael R. McLeod