The hearing mostly focused over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s handling of the collapse of MF Global and CFTC Chairman removing himself form the investigation because of his ties to former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine.
Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow did note the agency did not have the resources to patrol the $600 trillion derivatives market, especially with flat funding for the new fiscal year at $205 million. The administration proposed a $308 million budget.
Ranking Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas said many of his constituents have been financially affected by the MF Global’s possible use of customer funds to cover its liquidity squeeze. His goal is to use this hearing and a subsequent hearing set for Dec 16, with the testimony of former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine, to learn what happened at Global. He believes it is vital to maintain public confidence in institutions that help farmers and manufacturers handle risk; and that means knowing and, if possible, fixing what went wrong at MF Global.
Sen. Roberts suggested serious questions remain about CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler’s role in the MF Global downfall. Roberts questioned Gensler’s decision to step aside because he feels that without his leadership, the agency may never get a full accounting of what transpired at Global. Gensler recused himself in the case after GOP Sen. Charles Grassley called for him to step aside.
Senators from both sides of the aisle attended at least some part of the hearing. Their questions were generated from constituent letters asking for help in recouping lost funds in their MF Global accounts.