On June 5, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted 84-9 to confirm Dr. Heath P. Tarbert as the new Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). Dr. Tarbert currently serves as the Acting Under Secretary for International Affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department. His previous government experience includes roles as Special Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee and Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush.

The current CFTC Chairman, Christopher Giancarlo, whose term expired in April 2019, will continue to serve in that role until Dr. Tarbert is sworn in as Chairman, which is expected to be on July 15, 2019.

In his confirmation hearing on March 13, 2019, before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Dr. Tarbert mentioned the U.S. agricultural industry’s use of derivatives markets to hedge its production and delivery costs. In response to a question on a position limits rulemaking, Dr. Tarbert indicated a position limits rule should not limit the risk management tools available to bona fide hedgers.

In his written testimony, Dr. Tarbert’s testimony referenced the effect of digital technologies on derivatives markets, noting that such technologies, “present opportunities as well as risks,” adding that the CFTC “must remain committed to promulgating regulations that allow technological innovations to flourish, but also protect our markets and consumers from harm.”

Dr. Tarbert’s written testimony also highlighted the global nature of derivatives markets and expressed his support for international coordination with other financial regulators because it would “reduce systemic risk, avoid market fragmentation, protect customers, and promote basic international standards.”