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CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam Discusses Market Volatility, Data-Driven Culture, and Future Initiatives at FIA Futures Conference

Mar 19, 2024

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

At the FIA’s International Futures Conference in Boca Raton, FL, John Lothian News interviewed CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam on topics ranging from the CFTC’s reaction to the death of former CFTC Chief of Staff Mike Gill to making the CFTC a more data driven culture to using Little Orphan Annie as the spokesperson for its AI fraud initiatives. The latter refers to the AI announcement I rewrote using ChatGPT as if done by Little Orphan Annie.

Chairman Behnam, interviewed for the JLN Industry Leader Series sponsored by Wedbush, expressed his personal reaction and that of the agency to the passing of former CFTC Chief of Staff Mike Gill, exploring the impact of this loss on the CFTC staff and the wider Washington, DC community.

We asked Behnam about potential areas for improvement in regulations, operations, or funding to better address such volatility, considering the challenges faced by the global derivatives markets amidst significant geopolitical events, such as the war in Ukraine and conflicts in the Middle East, with a focus on how the CFTC has responded to market volatility,

We asked about the CFTC’s recent appointments of a chief data officer and a chief data scientist, highlighting the agency’s goals to foster a data-driven culture and the strategies being implemented to achieve these objectives.

The chairman responded to the Little Orphan Annie question with a big smile and then answered it seriously on what the CFTC hopes to learn from its Request for Comment on AI issued in January. Behnam also addressed the commission’s proposed guidance on the listing of voluntary carbon credit (VCC) derivative contracts and the feedback received from the public.

He also elaborated on his proposal for Congress to amend statutory provisions related to the Customer Protection Fund, aimed at facilitating broadening investor protection programs in light of technological advancements involving tools like smartphones.

Lastly, Behnam reflected on how the CFTC plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974, which created the CFTC. He said the Commission considers 1975, when it opened its doors, as its actual birthday. He also shared his personal reasons for returning to Boca Raton for the conference.

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