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U.S. derivatives regulator splits with White House over budget
May 23, 2017 / 4:27 PM / 6 months ago

U.S. derivatives regulator splits with White House over budget

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. derivatives regulator pushed back against White House efforts on Tuesday to rein in its fiscal 2018 budgets, saying it needs additional resources to carry out its mission to monitor the marketplace and analyze rules.

In a somewhat unusual move, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Tuesday it is seeking a $31.5 million boost on its current $250 million budget.

The White House, by contrast, proposed to keep the budgets of both the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission flat.

The SEC’s current budget is $1.6 billion.

The White House also said it would support allotting an additional $244.5 million to help pay for a new SEC headquarters if it must relocate after its lease expires, though at the same time it called on Congress to kill a $50 million reserve fund in fiscal year 2019 that the agency uses to fund long-term information technology projects.

The SEC concurred with the White House’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, and said it intends to continue making use of the reserve fund, which it called “critically important” to help it keep pace with rapidly changing technology.

A document released by the agency did not weigh in on whether the fund should be eliminated by 2019, as the White House proposes.

The CFTC won broad new powers from the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law to police the massive over-the-counter derivatives marketplace.

However, it has often struggled to convince the Republican-led Congress to boost its resources.

The CFTC said Tuesday that it has independent legal authority to seek a different budget from what the White House proposes, and that its pitch to Congress was approved by its two commissioners, Republican Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo and Democrat Sharon Bowen.

The money would be used to devote more resources to analyze the economic costs and benefits of its rules, boost compliance examinations of clearing houses that help reduce counterparty trading risks, and further advance its newly unveiled financial technology initiatives.

“The U.S. derivatives markets should be neither the most regulated nor the least regulated of the world - but the best regulated,” Giancarlo wrote in a letter to congressional appropriators.

“This budget request ensures that the CFTC can meet such a standard before the American people.”

Bowen said while she voted to request more money she does not support the proposal because it does not go far enough to provide the CFTC with adequate funding.

Although the CFTC and the White House disagreed on the number, both the SEC and CFTC largely came out unscathed in the budget, which overall calls for slashing $3.6 trillion in spending.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker

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