Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department official responsible for overseeing the U.S. rescue of banks and automakers after the credit crisis, will be nominated to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
President Barack Obama chose Mr. Massad to succeed Gary Gensler as chairman of the CFTC, an agency with expansive new authority under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. His nomination requires Senate confirmation.
Mr. Massad would take over an agency that has put into place more than 60 rules to regulate trading by banks, including Goldman Sachs Group and J.P. Morgan Chase, to help reduce risk and increase transparency in the swaps market after largely unregulated trades helped fuel the crisis. The rules have yet to all take effect as the agency battles budget challenges as a result of Republican efforts in Congress to block Obama administration efforts to increase its funding.
“Gensler has been purposefully aggressive both in the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act as well as his wish to expand the CFTC's scope, and I simply don't believe Massad will be anywhere near as laser-focused as Gensler has been,” Isaac Boltansky, policy analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading, said in a telephone interview.
Mr. Obama said at the White House on Tuesday that he is confident Mr. Massad will continue the work Mr. Gensler has done to put new rules into place. Mr. Obama said Mr. Massad doesn't “seek the spotlight, but consistently delivers” and has a “deep commitment to a reform agenda.”
A former partner at law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Mr. Massad was a legal adviser to a congressional panel that oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which loaned billions of dollars to banks and auto companies to help stabilize the economy during the 2008 crisis.
“Nobody ever wants to see TARP repeated. But the fact is, TARP is a program that did its job,” Mr. Massad said Sept. 30 at the Brookings Institution. “It has worked faster, better and cheaper than most people ever thought possible.” He did not comment about his nomination Tuesday.
As of Nov. 8, $421.54 billion had been disbursed under the TARP program, while $406.48 billion had been repaid, according to the latest numbers from the Treasury Department.