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Senate confirms Massad to head financial agency

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm •  Published: June 3, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Barack Obama's choice to head an agency overseeing potentially risky financial market activities.

Timothy Massad, who has promised to act aggressively against misconduct to ensure investors' confidence, was approved as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The CFTC, which regulates futures and options markets as well as derivatives trading, oversees some of the riskiest corners of the financial world. Derivatives were blamed for fueling the financial crisis.

Massad, a Treasury Department official, will succeed Gary Gensler, a Wall Street veteran who surprised many by becoming a tough regulator who pushed for strict rules that were opposed by large banks.

Also confirmed were two nominees to fill vacancies on the CFTC panel: securities lawyer Sharon Bowen and brokerage firm executive J. Christopher Giancarlo.

Bowen will fill a Democratic seat on the five-member commission, Giancarlo a Republican one.

Massad has said he would pursue final action on a revised rule aimed at clamping down on speculative trades that can drive up food and gas prices. The CFTC's original rule was struck down in 2012 by a federal court.

Commissioner Mark Wetjen has been acting chairman of the agency since Gensler left in December.

Massad, Bowen and Giancarlo had their confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee in March. But Senate approval was delayed by objections to Bowen from several Republican senators. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., had voted against her in the Agriculture Committee, saying she wasn't qualified. Other Republicans cited Bowen's role as the acting head of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which insures brokerage firms, in its decision not to compensate victims of the $7 billion Ponzi scheme run by convicted former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford.

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