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Dec 21

Wall Street oversight opponents get win with no extra funding for agency that oversees activities

wall-street-us-flagWASHINGTON, D.C. – Regulation of Wall Street didn’t advance in the bi-partisan omnibus spending bill passed last week by Congress, as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) got no funding increase.

The mission of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is to foster open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound markets, to avoid systemic risk, and to protect the market users and their funds, consumers, and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to derivatives and other products that are subject to the Commodity Exchange Act.

In carrying out this mission and to promote market integrity, the Commission polices the derivatives markets for various abuses and works to ensure the protection of customer funds. Further, the agency seeks to lower the risk of the futures and swaps markets to the economy and the public.

To fulfill these roles, the Commission oversees designated contract markets, swap execution facilities, derivatives clearing organizations, swap data repositories, swap dealers, futures commission merchants, commodity pool operators and other intermediaries.

The CFTC budget for Fiscal Year 2015 was $250 million. It received $35 million more than the $215 million it got in FY 2014. There was no added funding for FY 2016.

Statement of Chairman Timothy Massad on the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Agreement:

The failure to provide the CFTC even a modest increase in the fiscal year 2016 budget agreement sends a clear message that meaningful oversight of the derivatives markets, and the very types of products that exacerbated the global financial crisis, is not a priority.

The CFTC’s appropriation simply doesn’t match our vast responsibilities, especially as the markets we oversee have grown enormously in size, importance and technological complexity. They are critical to commercial businesses, and profoundly affect the prices all Americans pay for many goods and services in our daily lives.

The CFTC’s hardworking staff has diligently implemented the directives of Congress to reign in excessive risk in the swaps market. We are also making sure commercial end-users who didn’t cause the crisis can continue to use these markets effectively. But sensible regulation requires resources, and strong rules are meaningless unless they can be enforced properly.

While passing the federal budget was an important step forward, and it’s appropriate that the SEC received an increase, I am deeply disappointed that Congress and the Administration couldn’t find even a small increase for the agency’s critical work in a budget of $1.1 trillion.

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