CFTC appoints director of division of market oversight

US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) acting chairman J Christopher Giancarlo has appointed Amir Zaidi to lead the division of market oversight (DMO).


In addition, Vincent McGonagle has been appointed as the acting director for the division of enforcement (DOE), while Jeffrey Bandman will step down from his role as acting director of the division of clearing and risk (DCR) to become an adviser on issues related to financial technology. John Lawton, a 36-year employee of the commission, has taken over as acting director of DCR.

Giancarlo says: “During my time at the CFTC, I have been impressed by the dedication and knowledge of the commission’s staff including in DMO. I am pleased Amir Zaidi has agreed to take on this important role and lead this critical division. Further, I thank Vince, Jeff and John for their dedication and commitment for taking on these significant roles at the CFTC. One of the hallmarks of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power, but one the strengths of our country that isn’t talked about much is the dedicated staff who oversee the markets, enforce the rules and ensure the integrity of the marketplace. I am proud to work alongside these talented individuals, and I thank them for their service.”

Zaidi has been with the commission since 2010 and has served in various roles for commissioners and in DMO. He has been legal counsel and policy advisor in the office of commissioner Giancarlo since August 2014 and was the commissioner’s point person on market structure issues, such as automated trading and swap execution facilities (SEFs), and also distributed ledger technology initiatives. He advised now acting chairman Giancarlo on a variety of additional issues, including cross-border harmonisation, swap dealer capital and margin rules, cybersecurity, data reporting, and end-user issues. Zaidi was previously chief counsel and policy advisor to former CFTC commissioner Scott D O’Malia and special counsel in DMO. In DMO, Zaidi served as team leader for the development and implementation of SEF rules.

Prior to joining the CFTC in 2010, Zaidi was an associate in the corporate and securities group at Arnold and Porter LLP. Zaidi also held various financial analyst roles at Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York prior to law school.

McGonagle has served the commission for nearly 20 years in several high-level management positions, including DOE and was most recently the director of DMO. During his tenure as DMO director, the commission completed registration review and commission approval for 23 SEFs based upon DMO’s recommendations. During that time, McGonagle also oversaw implementation of five “Made Available to Trade” determinations, implementing for the first time the swaps trade execution mandate under the Dodd-Frank Act. McGonagle also guided DMO’s new data and reporting branch as it implemented new swap data reporting obligations, a new cleared swaps reporting rule, and regulatory data sharing arrangements.

Bandman will focus on FinTech innovation issues including those arising from distributed ledger technology and virtual currency derivatives. His work will concentrate on key immediate priorities — such as identifying challenges to FinTech innovation in areas within the CFTC’s jurisdiction and proposing ways to address them. He will also focus on ways to heighten the CFTC’s engagement with the underlying technology.

During his tenure as acting director of DCR, Bandman was lead negotiator for the landmark clearinghouse equivalence agreement reached with the European Commission in 2016, resolving longstanding differences over clearing supervision and standards. He also steered DCR staff’s pioneering cross-border supervisory stress test and report analysing impacts of market shocks across multiple clearinghouses.

Prior to joining the Commission, Bandman worked for many years in the derivatives industry in New York and London, focusing on issues such as clearing, electronic trading, and market data. Bandman started his career as a corporate attorney in New York.

Before taking over as acting director, John C Lawton was a deputy director in the CFTC’s division of clearing and risk, with responsibility for the risk surveillance branch. He has been with the CFTC for more than 30 years and has held a variety of positions including chief counsel of the division of clearing and intermediary oversight and acting director of the division of trading and markets.

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