The Business On... Gary Gensler, Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission


Flexing his muscles, is he?

Metaphorically, rhetorically and literally.



One at a time, please. Metaphorically?

The CFTC is the regulator that is enjoying the biggest increase in its power, following the Wall Street reforms introduced last year. Mr Gensler's annual budget is about to almost double. Its expanded remit is to oversee credit default swaps and the other parts of the derivatives market that were notoriously unregulated until imploding during the credit crisis.



Rhetorically?

Mr Gensler was on about six-packs yesterday.



Huh?

He actually meant six-packs of beer, not abs, so I'm stretching it, okay, but humour me. He says the CFTC is focused on making sure the price of beer does not rise. Wall Street is mounting a rearguard action against new rules, saying they limit the amount of hedging that users of commodities – say, brewers – can afford.



And literally?

Mr Gensler is one of the more athletic members of the regulatory elite, regularly running marathons. He is going to need all his stamina for the battles ahead.



How strong is Wall Street's rearguard action?

Several Republicans took up the call to arms at a House Financial Services Committee hearing yesterday, which was why Mr Gensler was on about beer. One member said he has been told by industry players that CFTC rules could "literally spell the end of the US-based derivatives market".



And how strong is Mr Gensler?

The Obama administration is confident he is up to the task. As an 18-year veteran of Goldman Sachs ...



Woah. Hold on. Another Goldmanite in government?

Well, yes. There is that. And Mr Gensler did support the bill that left credit derivatives unregulated when he was in the Clinton administration. Let's just say, a lot of people are watching how he flexes his new-found power.

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