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U.S. Swap Overseer Nominees Set for March 6 Senate Hearing

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a March 6 hearing to consider the confirmation of three nominees to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The panel will weigh the nominations of Treasury Department official Timothy Massad to become chairman of the derivatives regulator, and Sharon Y. Bowen and J. Christopher Giancarlo to serve as commissioners, Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat who leads the committee, said today in an e-mail statement.

The agency, which was empowered by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to bring oversight of swaps traded by firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., is in a period of transition. The commission, which is designed to have five members, has had three sitting members since the beginning of the year. Mark P. Wetjen, a Democrat, has been serving as acting chairman since Gary Gensler departed in early January.

Once little-known, the CFTC gained new authority under the the Dodd-Frank overhaul of U.S. financial regulation to oversee part of the $693 trillion global swaps market. The agency has put more than 60 rules into place in an effort to reduce risk in the market by having most swaps guaranteed at central clearinghouses, which accept collateral from buyers and sellers, and traded on exchanges or other platforms.

At Treasury, Massad oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program set up to rescue Wall Street at the height of the credit crisis. Early in his career as a lawyer at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Massad was involved with the swap industry’s original efforts to standardize documents.

Bowen, a securities lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLP, is being considered for the CFTC seat being vacated by Bart Chilton, a Democrat. Giancarlo, an executive at New York-based inter-dealer broker GFI Group Inc., was nominated to succeed Jill E. Sommers, a Republican who stepped down in July.

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