Banking

Biden poised to name CFTC picks to fill three Democratic seats

President Biden plans to nominate officials for three Democratic seats on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the nation’s main derivatives regulator.

The White House will tap Rostin Behnam to lead the agency, as well as Christy Goldsmith Romero and Emory University law professor Kristin Johnson to serve as commissioners, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The CFTC’s only current Republican member is Dawn Stump, following the departure last month of Brian Quintenz, leaving an open GOP seat.

The CFTC, whose jurisdiction over Wall Street expanded significantly after the 2008 financial crisis, will likely spend more time on Biden administration priorities such as climate change with Benham at the helm. Benham, who has been the agency’s acting chair January, sponsored a report by an industry group last year that called on the U.S. government to require businesses to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

The regulator also is expected to continue to dedicate significant resources to cryptocurrencies, whose derivatives the agency oversees.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission logo hangs outside their headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Harrer/Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloo

While Behnam’s elevation to permanent chair and Johnson’s nomination were expected, Goldsmith Romero’s appointment hasn’t been previously reported. It comes after Democrat Dan Berkovitz announced last week that he would soon relinquish his seat.

The Biden administration has promised a new era of tougher Wall Street oversight and stricter rules, and has also faced pressure to fill key jobs with candidates that reflect the nation’s diversity.

Johnson would be the first Black woman appointed by Biden to serve as a top official at a financial regulator, while Behnam is of Middle Eastern decent. Goldsmith Romero, who has worked for about 10 years as special inspector general for the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, is an Asian American Pacific Islander.


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