J. Christopher Giancarlo, executive vice president at interdealer broker GFI Group Inc. (GFIG), is the top candidate for a Republican appointment this year to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Giancarlo is being vetted for the seat held by Jill E. Sommers, who has said she is planning to step down, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions aren’t public. If nominated and confirmed by the Senate, he would join a five-member commission working to draft Dodd-Frank Act regulations for the $633 trillion swaps market.
Giancarlo, reached by e-mail, declined to comment. Amy Brundage, a White House spokesperson, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
At GFI, Giancarlo has been an active participant in debates over new derivatives regulations. He stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the Wholesale Market Brokers’ Association, Americas, a group of five interdealer brokers that lobbied for flexible rules on how swaps are traded using new execution facilities.
Giancarlo also has testified before Congress, met with CFTC officials and appeared at industry conferences focusing on how the swaps rules were being implemented.
In December, Giancarlo warned House lawmakers that rules being drafted by the CFTC threatened to put U.S. markets at a disadvantage and that business might move overseas.
He also said at the Dec. 12 hearing that efforts to convert swaps into futures “entrenches the vertical monopolies of the futures industry and thwarts Congress’s envisioned landscape of competing SEFs and impartial access to swaps clearing.” CME Group (CME) Inc., owner of the world’s largest futures exchange, and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. have converted energy swaps into futures and announced plans to create similar products in the interest-rate and credit markets.
A federal judge on June 7 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, that challenged a CFTC rule setting higher collateral standards for swaps than comparable futures.
The Obama administration is also considering Democrats to fill slots on the CFTC now held by Chairman Gary Gensler and Commissioner Bart Chilton, the people said. One candidate is former Senate aide Amanda Renteria, said the people, adding that the White House has hasn’t fully decided if she might replace Gensler or Chilton.
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