Gary DeWaal, Financial Markets and Regulation chair, spoke with Wolters Kluwer on January 22 for an article on the new acting director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — Rostin Behnam — and on January 20 for its "Election Impact Report," covering some of the new priorities for the regulator because of the new Biden administration. Gary stated, "As the senior Democrat at the CFTC and given the leadership role he has played as head of the MRAC and sponsor of its recent climate change-related report, it is a deserving honor for Russ to be named Acting Chairman."
Looking ahead, Gary believes that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues will continue to be critical to the CFTC's agenda. "No matter who the next CFTC [acting] Chairperson is, ESG will be front and center. Watch for futures and swaps trading facilities to offer more ESG-related products that will be eagerly supported by the Commission." In terms of enforcement, he added that the "CFTC enforcement division will not be taking a holiday under the next Chairperson and will likely continue to pursue its recent aggressive posture." He also noted that there is potential for the new permanent Chairperson to "tweak" the recently approved position limits rule and electronic trading risk principles.
Gary expects that Congress will reintroduce the Digital Commodity Exchange Act (DCEA), during its new term setting up a voluntary framework for virtual trading platforms to register with and be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the CFTC. If adopted, it would streamline regulations for virtual currency trading platforms.
Separately, Gary added, "One of the few benefits of the travesty of January 6 is that it evidenced to me that there are moderate Republicans and Democrats who share a common view of America. If President Biden can leverage this constructive center of political thought, I think he will have a good majority to implement many important legislative initiatives. I think President Biden, unlike his predecessor, truly understands the Art of the Deal." ("Securities Regulation Daily Wrap Up, TOP STORY—Behnam elected Acting CFTC Chairman, Tarbert remains on the Commission," January 22, 2021 and "Election Impact Report: Commodities & Derivatives," January 20, 2021)