As part of the broader push to strengthen regulation of the financial industry, two agencies with sometimes conflicting responsibilities and rules joined forces to see how harmonizing their efforts might be effective in, among other things, protecting against fraud and forcing foreign trade organizations to register with them before doing business within the United States. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, released yesterday, highlights that the two agencies, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), did not assess how they could cover gaps in the agencies’ authorities to oversee derivatives—a central part of the reform being debated in congress.
According to the GAO, the SEC and the CFTC chose not to look at their authority over the derivatives markets because the market is generally unregulated in its current state. The agencies instead chose to evaluate areas where the two already have established regulatory authority.
If it passes, Blanche Lincoln’s, D-Ark, proposed financial reform bill will give authority over the derivatives market to the CFTC and the SEC.
The two agencies did create a Joint Advisory Committee that will develop solutions to current and future issues in the securities market, but the charter for the committee is still being finalized.