Despite her own significant reservations, Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Sharon Bowen agreed to the forwarding of the agency’s proposed 2018 fiscal year budget, as drafted by J. Christopher Giancarlo, the Acting Chairman, to the Committee on Appropriations of the US Senate for its consideration.  Mr. Giancarlo’s proposed budget requests $281.5 million, a 12.6% increase over the agency 2017 FY budget. Ms. Bowen objected to the budget recommended by Mr. Giancarlo because she did not think it was sufficient for the agency to adequately perform its function. Ms. Bowen’s assent was necessary because the agency is currently understaffed with only two Commissioners. Ms. Bowen suggested that, to ameliorate the CFTC’s budget insufficiency, it should be allowed to retain a portion of user fees that, she argued, should be assessed on market participants. Separately, the White House proposed a 2018 FY budget that does not appear to call for any increase in funding for the CFTC.

My View: The CFTC is underfunded. Despite its hard-working staff, the agency is challenged to fulfill its regulatory mission, let alone timely assist industry participants to approve new products and initiatives. Those of us who interact with CFTC staff regularly can see first-hand how stretched they are and how urgently they require more resources, A solution to obtain more funding for the Agency must be found.