As MF Global continues unwinding at the speed of bureaucracy, new pieces of information have been few and far between. But this week, the Inspector General of the CFTC released a report examining the CFTC’s oversight and regulation of MF Global (you can read the full report here).
It’s definitely not groundbreaking, but the part of the report getting the most attention is CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation – particularly whether or not that was in line with the CFTC’s policies. As it turns out, he was advised that it would not be consistent with established policy for him to do so, but that didn’t seem to be the answer he wanted. The Wall Street Journal writes:
“[W]e are concerned with the Chairman’s determination to withdraw from participation” in the investigation, the inspector general’s report concludes, noting that Mr. Gensler’s decision to seek advice on his involvement with MF Global only after the firm became “a public sensation” was “not the most desirable course.”
In other words, Gensler didn’t “realize” that his past ties to Corzine might be a problem until after it became clear that MF Global was going to be a high-profile disaster. It was at that point that he decided it might be a good idea to keep his name far, far away.
Well, it’s good knowing that when the chips are down and the disaster strikes, the head of one of our top regulators has the courage and conviction to step forward and say, “Not It.”
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