Last night news broke that Obama would nominate Mary Schapiro to head up the much-beleagured SEC. That was always going to be an important position, but post-Madoff the significance of that slot just got magnified by 10x. Protecting Americans from scams will now be a huge point for the administration.
In addition to Schapiro, Obama announced a new Fed governor, Daniel K. Tarullo, and he’s actually a law professor, which is a little odd. He’s obviously a left-of-centre guy, since he’s a fellow at the centre for American Progress, but he seems pretty qualified. From his bio:
Daniel K. Tarullo is Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law centre. He returned to full-time law teaching in 1999 after a decade in private practice and government service. He teaches in the areas of international economic regulation, banking law, and international law. During the fall 2005 semester he was a visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He was Frederick H. Schultz Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton University during the fall 2004 semester.
Professor Tarullo’s recent publications include articles on sovereign debt problems, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, dispute settlement in the World Trade organisation, and reforms to the international financial system. He is currently at work on a book dealing with international banking regulation.
He also nominated Gary Gensler, Goldman Sachs guy and former top exec at the Treasury Department, to head up the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC doesn’t get much coverage relative to other finance-related agencies, but it’s worth paying attention to. The agency has been relatively liberal in its attitude towards new ideas like prediction markets, something we’d like to see continue even at this market-averse moment. Beyond that, the bursting of the oil bubble puts a focused spotlight on this position.
Bloomberg: “Gary is a very smart, very knowledgeable and very experienced guy,” Geoffrey Aronow, former director of enforcement for the commission, said in an e-mail. “He would be a terrific choice to lead the CFTC at this critical time for addressing financial services regulatory reform.”
The commission oversees $5 trillion in futures and options trading, including oil and agricultural markets and foreign currency exchange. The agency has come under heightened scrutiny from Congress as lawmakers push for greater regulation of the $31 trillion credit-default swaps market, financial instruments blamed in part for the credit crisis.