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January 3, 2014

Swaps regulator Gensler: banker turned Wall Street scourge

As Gary Gensler wraps up his last day as the head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday, he leaves behind a long list of ardent admirers of his tough-nosed reforms and passionate critics who believe he has injured well-functioning markets.

Once a swaps trader at Goldman Sachs and then a Treasury Department official known for his role in rolling back bank rules in the late 1990s, the 56-year-old surprisingly became the regulator Wall Street feared most in the wake of the financial crisis.

“‘He’s been one of the best regulators I’ve ever seen,’ said Barney Frank, the former Democratic U.S. Congressman who lent his name to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

“‘With regards to members of the Senate who support regulation, he’s made a bunch of friends. He’s clearly alienated a lot of the bankers.’

During his five-year tenure at the helm of the agency, once a little-watched overseer of commodity futures markets, Gensler spawned major lawsuits from bank groups, a major dispute with regulators in Brussels, and a frequent lack of consensus among fellow commissioners.

“‘The Street hates him,’ said one bank lobbyist, asking not to be named in order to be able to speak more freely.


“‘The Street’s big hope for an incremental rollback of what Gary has done is going to prove to be misguided,’ said Dennis Kelleher, the head of Better Markets, a pressure group critical of Wall Street’s large investment banks.”


Read full Reuters article here

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