President Obama will nominate Treasury official Timothy Massad to be the next chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday afternoon, according to a White House official.
Massad will succeed Gary Gensler, who has served as head of the CFTC since 2009 and who has frequently butted heads with Wall Street during his tenure. Gensler’s departure this year was expected, and Massad had been reported to be a top contender for the post.
Massad is currently the assistant secretary for financial stability at the Treasury Department, overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the financial crisis-era bank bailout program. “As TARP moves into the history books, it’s my hope that its greatest legacy will be this, that when the nation was confronted with an extraordinary challenge — in this case, the potential collapse of our entire financial system — government rose to the occasion,” he said in a recent speech at the Brookings Institution. Massad has also worked in the private sector at law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore and in other Treasury positions.
He’ll have plenty to do at the CFTC. The regulatory agency is responsible for writing many of the rules under the 2010 financial-reform law, including the contentious and yet-to-be-finalized “Volcker Rule” that bans banks from making speculative bets with their own money.
The Dodd-Frank reform law vastly increased the agency’s responsibilities, and Gensler has frequently complained to Congress that the CFTC’s budget is inadequate for the work it has to implement the law and oversee the massive futures and swaps market. Lawmakers have repeatedly declined to expand the CFTC’s budget in recent years.
Further complicating life for the next CFTC chairman is that one of the agency’s commissioners, Democrat Bart Chilton, said last week that he intends to step down soon. Chilton’s will be the second open seat on the five-member commission after Republican commissioner Jill Sommers resigned earlier this year.
The confirmation hearing for the next CFTC chairman will be held by the Senate Agriculture Committee.