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New CFTC commissioners take aim at market, technology risk

The two newest commissioners on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said their focus will be on risk.

Speaking at the Futures Industry Association Expo 2017 in Chicago on Wednesday, Brian Quintenz and Rostin Behnam gave a broad overview of what they'll do.

"In addressing policy, the focus of my commissionership first and foremost will be on risk, to address that appropriately to target rules and regulations," said Mr. Quintenz. "There are also unfortunately some situations where we've seen that one-size-fits-all regulations don't work."

Mr. Behnam, who announced he would lead the CFTC's market risk advisory committee, said there were issues that the agency could react to "in short order," including central counterparty risk as well as dealer-related and liquidity issues.

"Given the breadth of issues, I'll be spending the next few months visiting businesses, getting different perspectives on what's working and what's not," Mr. Behnam said.

Mr. Quintenz, who will lead the CFTC's technology advisory committee, praised the agency's work so far in it Project K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to reduce regulatory burdens and in its LabCFTC financial technology incubator.

"There's a lot of opportunity to get feedback from K.I.S.S. to go after the low-hanging fruit," Mr. Quintenz said, citing as an example calls from market participants to reduce duplicate paperwork required to correspond with documents filed with the CFTC online.

Another focus will be harmonization of international regulations, Mr. Quintenz said. "It all starts with the perspective that these are global markets, and imposing regional regulations will have an impact," he said. "If those regulations are too broad, we could be exposed to risk. If we lock line-by-line as the previous administration did, we'll never get it done. I appreciate (CFTC Chairman J. Christopher) Giancarlo's specific outcomes-based approach."

Mr. Qiuintenz was sworn in as commissioner Sept. 1; Mr. Behnam was sworn in Sept. 7.