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Senate Panel Approves Three Nominees To CFTC

WASHINGTON—“A Senate panel on Tuesday approved President Barack Obama's three nominees to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, advancing their nominations to the full Senate.”

“The panel acted by voice vote on the nominations of Timothy Massad, a senior Treasury Department official tapped to head the five-member CFTC, and Sharon Bowen and J. Christopher Giancarlo for two commissioner slots at the swaps regulator. The full Senate must now vote to confirm the nominees, though it is unclear when the nominees will come up for votes.”

“Mr. Massad was tapped in November to succeed Gary Gensler, who left the CFTC in early January. Ms. Bowen, a securities lawyer, was nominated in December to succeed Democrat Bart Chilton, who stepped down in March. Mr. Giancarlo, a brokerage executive, would fill an open Republican seat at the commission and was nominated last summer.”

“Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) said he didn't believe Ms. Bowen was qualified and opposed her nomination. Mr. Chambliss said Ms. Bowen didn't have a "strong background" in the futures market and wasn't knowledgeable enough to serve as a CFTC commissioner. "We need the most qualified regulators available to navigate these complex and uncertain markets," he said.”

“The nominees' paths through the full Senate are unclear. At least two additional senators, David Vitter (R., La.) and Thad Cochran (R., Miss), have raised questions about Ms. Bowen's role as acting chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., an industry association that maintains a special reserve fund authorized by Congress to compensate investors who lose money in failed brokerages. The lawmakers are upset about the fund's decision not to compensate victims of R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme.”

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