Banks Oppose CFTC Proposal for Strict Controls of Overseas Derivatives

Wall street bankers and some of the top finance ministers in the world are engaged in an intense battle with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as they attempt to stop the agency from extending their regulatory powers abroad.

The bankers and ministers are attempting to block a CFTC proposal, aimed to be instituted in mid-July, that would require overseas offices of American-based banks, foreign institutions and hedge funds to turn over data on foreign trades if they involve U.S. customers, or are guaranteed by a financial institution with American ties, according to the New York Times. Their complaint with this proposal is that it is both “redundant and excessive.”

The struggle between the two sides has caused a rift between Democrats in Congress and has also led to claims from industry officials that Gensler is overreaching his authority.

However, Gensler has maintained his position, arguing that countless bad bets in the global derivatives market that threaten markets in the U.S. can be traced to overseas location.

“It would be letting down the American public if we said, we are just about to complete the task but now, let’s retreat,” Gensler said in a New York Times quote. “If we don’t do this right, we will blow a hole in the bottom of the boat of reform.”

Detractors of Gensler’s proposal feel that the cross-border regulations will create strife with foreign regulators that may push trading away from Wall Street banks to overseas competitors.

Mary L. Shapiro, the former chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has stated that she admires Gensler’s perseverance. However, she added, “he believes very strongly in the positions he takes — that does not always lend itself to compromise quickly.”

Other advocates of Gensler have cited the former investment banker’s career at Goldman Sachs as a proponent for his methods.

Dennis M. Kelleher, a former Capitol Hill staff aide, told the New York Times, “He uses the knowledge he gained working inside at a high level in a Wall Street bank to regulate Wall Street in a way that they can’t evade.”


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