Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama Choice of Schapiro for SEC Chair Should Facilitate SEC-CFTC Merger

President-Elect Obama's choice of Mary Schapiro for the ncxt SEC Chair is almost certain to increase the chances for the merger of the SEC and CFTC that so many heavyweights, including former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt, are calling for. In addition to the fact the she is uniquely a former SEC Acting Chair and a former CFTC Chair, Ms. Schapiro was calling for a merger of the two agencies as far back as 1990.

In a speech to the Economists Club, then SEC Commissioner Schapiro listed a number of reasons for the merger. She prefers merger to the piecemeal transfer of products from the CFTC to the SEC. Merger, as opposed to the transfer of only one product, can result in economies for brokerage firms and should not increase costs for exchanges. Merger enables the expeditious resolution of intermarket issues. Merger enables the new agency to speak with one voice internationally, and to bring the maximum amount of leverage to bear in international negotiations. Merger would release both the futures and securities industry from the current
climate of uncertainty that dominates and hampers the development and introduction of new products. Merger more nearly ensures that the scheme of regulation that recognizes futures as unique instruments will survive. Merger leaves no agency overburdened or stripped of the resources necessary to do the job.