President Obama is nominating a top Treasury Department official to run the independent agency that regulates the futures and options market. The White House says Obama will announce the nomination of Timothy Massad to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission today. For the past three years, Massad has overseen the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bank rescue plan known as TARP.
Obama is expected to use Massad's nominating ceremony to call on Congress to fully fund the CFTC, one of the smallest and most thinly funded US agencies. Dodd-Frank gave the agency the task of laying down rules for oversight of derivatives, the complex instruments traded in a $700 trillion worldwide market that has been unregulated. The agency has now completed 43 of the 60 rules it was charged with putting into motion under the overhaul law, but the remaining 17 include some of the thorniest and most important, like the so-called Volcker Rule, which would prohibit banks from trading for their own profit.