16 November 2011

CFTC Commissioner O'Malia Warns of 'Rash Reforms' - "Isolated Incident" - Opposes Position Limits

The CFTC must make haste to prove to the public that MF Global was an isolated incident. It should not become involved in the issues of returning customer funds.

Oh, such wiles are hidden in the voice of reason and 'free market' ideology. Let's not be hasty. After all, it is only customer money, and we are just the regulators responsible for making sure it didn't happen in the first place.

Commissioner O'Malia has also actively opposed 'position limits' on silver and other reforms in commodity trading designed to curtail manipulation.
"O'Malia said the agency had overreached its mandate and echoed the industry's argument that there was no "empirical evidence" to substantiate the rule."
In his opening statement on position limits he said:
"...in addition to failing to detail costs, the two final rulemakings fail to articulate a convincing rationale for eliminating our current regime of principles-based regulation and substituting in its stead a prescriptive “government-knows-best” regime."
Principles based regulation. Unfortunately the principles are being written and administered by the brokerage firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe & Assoc.

Let's make haste to show this is an 'isolated incident.' How about making some haste to get the customers' money back, and telling us who took the money and what they are charged with?

How can this possibly be an 'isolated incident?' There's a fine line between an isolated incident and just another episode in a multi-year financial gang bang of the American public by Wall Street's monied interests.

Commissioner O'Malia was appointed by Barack Obama in 2009 according to Huffington Post: Scott O'Malia: Obama Appoints Ex-Lobbyist For Enron-Like Company To Top Regulator Position

Obama's failure to fulfill his electoral mandate, for whatever reasons, is one of the greatest flops since Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Credibility trap. Regulatory capture. Corporate "News." Judas goat reformers.

I fear the truth, and financial reform, will be led down a blind alley, and strangled. The best I can hope for is that the customers' money will be returned out of shame and fear, if not justice and wisdom.

CFTC Chairman Gensler is apparently asking for a December 5 vote to restrict the manner in which brokerages can use customer funds. Hence Commissioner O'Malia's warning on making changes to the status quo, and the new threat from the Congress to pass deep cuts in CFTC funding.

And next year the American public will be given Morton's fork opportunity to choose between two flavors of corporate extrusion, Tweedleflip and Tweedleflop. And so they will hold their noses, and most likely cast their joyless votes.

CFTC official warns about rash reforms post-MF Global
By Christopher Doering
Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:46am EST

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - A U.S. futures regulator on Wednesday pushed for immediate action in the wake of collapsed brokerage MF Global, including a requirement that all intermediaries should hire an independent party to make sure customers funds are kept separate from the firm's own money.

Scott O'Malia, a Republican commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in order to show the public that segregation works and that MF Global was an isolated incident, it must act quickly.

However, he warned about going too far with reforms without full knowledge of what happened at the failed brokerage.

"Many have said that the failure of MF Global was not systemic and that we are lucky. I don't view it in the same light," O' Malia said in a statement laying out the "next
steps" in dealing with the mess MF Global left behind.

MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31 after investors and counterparties balked at revelations about the firm's bets on risky European sovereign debt.

Roughly $600 million is missing in customer accounts of the company's brokerage, and the CFTC is among the authorities investigating whether MF Global may have improperly mixed that money with its own funds.

O'Malia said the CFTC must ensure that all intermediaries are in compliance with segregation requirements. The agency also must reconsider rules it is crafting to implement the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

In the three-page statement, O'Malia said it's too early to hail a proposal that would limit investments of segregated customer funds "as the solution to the MF Global problem."

He also warned against a plan that would have the CFTC intervene in insolvency proceedings to facilitate transfer of customer positions and collateral in the face of a shortfall.  "The Commission has not actively intervened in such a manner in MF Global, and so it is questionable whether the Commission would so intervene in the future," O'Malia said.

In light of MF Global's demise, O'Malia said the CFTC should ensure that clearing organizations are able to diversify their membership without introducing risk.