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CFTC's Chilton wants to 'calm waters' over Dodd-Frank deadlines

First Published 5th October 2012

A CFTC commissioner said it was time to "calm the waters" about looming Dodd-Frank deadlines and he proposed a framework for doing so.

Washington - Bart Chilton, a commissioner for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, offered what he called a chance to "pause and take a breath" as deadlines under the Dodd-Frank act loomed, saying that firms that have made reasonable requests for clarification about rules should not be charged with non-compliance if the CFTC has not respondend.

"Right now, we've got a couple hundred requests for clarification and/or regulatory relief in some fashion on approximately three dozen discrete issues. These requests-each one of them-deserve our careful, deliberate, thoughtful consideration and resolution," Chilton said in a statement

"I'm concerned that without some palliative measures at this point, there could be potential harm to markets and ultimately to consumers," he added. "It's time to calm the waters a bit regarding immediately pressing deadline dates."

The CFTC's commissioners are appointed by the president of the United States, so their views can be at times viewed through political prisms. Chilton's career has a decidedly bipartison tint. He was nominted by President George W. Bush and confirmed in 2007. In 2009, he was re-nominated by President Obama and reconfirmed by the Senate. He has also been a senior advisor to the Democrat leader of the US Senate and before that served as a political appointee of President Bill Clinton.

"We've approved 39 final rules, and given this mammoth undertaking it's not unexpected that these new regulations would raise questions and concerns regarding compliance and implementation," Chilton said.

Chilton said he hoped and expected responses to requests for clarification or relief on many of the existing requests would go out within days, and would address concerns.

"To be clear, I'm not at all talking about an overall delay of regulatory reform requirements. It's not about suggesting that we've done poor rules: we have not. It's about making sure we move forward on the right track for markets and consumers, and ensuring our rules aren't derailed down the line."

He said compliance with Dodd-Frank rules should be required by those that have requested guidance or relief when individual, reasonable requests for clarification or other relief have been addressed sufficiently.

But he said it would not be appropriate, reasonable, or responsible for the commission to proceed against entities for non-compliance with a Dodd-Frank rule unless and until they have received a response from the agency to an existing request. "In any event, I cannot envision the commission moving forward with such an action," Chilton said.

"I'm not about throwing punches at anyone as to how we got here," Chilton said. "The fact is, these are the circumstances, and we play the ball where it lies. My ideas on how to do that will make sure we move the ball down the fairway.

"Bottom line: we need to respond appropriately and as quickly as possible to each request so that legitimate market activity is not disrupted or impeded, and ensure that American consumers do not ultimately bear any added costs due to the inability of businesses to effectively and efficiently manage risks."