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Meet Washington's Newest Watchdog

For months, the futures industry has bemoaned the leadership vacuum at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Left without a chairman for nearly two years while the Clinton Administration dithered, the agency allowed critical proposals to languish and failed to target questionable sales practices that sullied the industry's reputation.

These days, traders are decidedly more bullish on the CFTC. The reason: President Clinton's choice of Mary L. Schapiro to head the agency. A hard-charging securities regulator, Schapiro has intimate knowledge of the futures markets from her stints as a CFTC enforcement attorney and as general counsel to the Futures Industry Assn. "She wasn't appointed for her politics, she was appointed for her professionalism," says Patrick Arbor, Chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade.