As reported by Reuters, there is a potential void looming over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s top position as current chairman Gary Gensler ‘s five year term comes to an end. With the U.S. economy still limping through a recovery from the financial crisis of 2008, thought in large part to be due to a lack of regulation on banks and trading, it seems imperative that this position be filled with confidence.
Obama had brought up the idea of a second term to Gensler back in March, and though Gensler hasn’t commented on the subject, it’s been assumed that he is looking for a more prominent position.
Outside of Gensler, there has been discussion of appointing Elizabeth Ritter to the position. Ritter, a professor in derivatives law who currently works under senior commissioner Bart Chilton within the CFTC, has been praised for her knowledge and expertise, but her lack of experience leading a department within the CFTC has been cited as possible point of contention.
Should no one be appointed for the position by the end of Gensler’s term, the decision would fall upon the CFTC itself to choose an acting chairman from within; the most likely candidate being Commissioner Chilton. However, an acting chairman would not have the same authority as an appointed candidate, and with many critical initiatives coming down the pipeline for the CFTC, including the enforcement of new rules designed to increase transparency within the banking and trading sectors, this situation would be less than ideal.
While it seems likely for the position to be filled without significant issue, the level of solemn irony found in the uncertainty surrounding the head position of the supposed enforcer of financial transparency is difficult to ignore.