Turnover on the NFA’s Board of Directors comes infrequently. I can’t remember a single instance where a non-Nominating Committee slated candidate succeeded in being elected until Ernest Jaffarian and Douglas Bry were elected last year. This year could be the same with two high profile write-in nominees on the ballot.

James Koutoulas and John Roe, the two co-founders of the Commodity Customer Coalition (“CCC”), are write-in candidates on the ballot for positions on the board of directors of the National Futures Association representing CTAs and CPOs. These two customer-focused media-savvy upstarts square off versus two representatives of the futures industry establishment, George E. Crapple of Millburn Ridgefield Corporation and Tom Lloyd of Campbell & Company, Inc.

Crapple has been on the NFA Board since 1996 and is a member of the Executive Committee. Lloyd is slated for a spot long occupied by Bruce Cleland, the former Campbell & Company, Inc. vice chairman who retired this fall. Cleland currently holds a position on the NFA Board, as well as on the NFA Executive Committee.

This confrontation between establishment versus populist candidates in the CTA/CPO space is not just about board slots, it is about the future direction of the NFA. Should John Roe and James Koutoulas win election to the NFA Board, it will send an unmistakable message to the powers that be that change is needed at the NFA. Voting for the NFA board concludes on January 15, 2013.

And let me be clear: change is needed at the NFA. The problems exposed by the MF Global and PFG bankruptcies need to be rigorously addressed and everyone knows it, including the establishment candidates.

Crapple begins his position paper, which is included with the NFA ballot, with the sentence “I believe new blood is important to the health of any organization, and this has been key to the long-term success of Millburn Ridgefield Corporation, where I am co-chairman and co-CEO.”

He also adds “With respect to NFA, I am not a revolutionary,” and goes on to compliment NFA’s people and “esprit de corps.”

He appears to want it both ways; new blood is good, but experience and institutional knowledge are also important. He clearly seems to understand the mood for change he faces as he runs for reelection.

Lloyd, for his part, supports the re-election of George Crapple, effectively making this an all or none vote to support either the establishment or the popularly nominated duo of Koutoulas and Roe.

Koutoulas and Roe, who are running for separate seats, are straight to the point in their position paper. They founded the Commodity Customer Coalition “to fill a void in leadership in the wake of the MF Global bankruptcy.”

For what it is worth, as a member of the NFA and Commodity Trading Advisor, I am voting for Koutoulas and Roe. (Roe also is featured in an upcoming segment of our Restoring Customer Confidence series.) I am voting for two people who will bring a fresh perspective to the NFA Board, particularly to their responsibility to customers. I am voting for two people who will bring, in George Crapple’s own words, “new blood” to the NFA Board.

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