On March 15, 2017, while speaking at the Annual International Futures Industry Conference, J. Christopher Giancarlo, the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and President Donald Trump’s nominee to be permanent chairman of that agency, announced a new agenda for the CFTC called “Project KISS,” which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” 1

Project KISS is an effort to align the CFTC’s regulatory mission with President Trump’s February 24, 2017, executive order calling on federal agencies to conduct regulatory reviews and stimulate economic revival.2 The CFTC, as an independent agency, is not required to follow the President’s February 24, 2017, executive order. Nevertheless, Giancarlo began Project KISS because he believes the CFTC will benefit from complying with it.

Giancarlo has started Project KISS by naming Mike Gill, Giancarlo’s Chief of Staff, as the CFTC’s Regulatory Reform Officer who will be responsible for conducting an “agency-wide review of CFTC rules, regulations, and practices to make them simpler, less burdensome, and less costly.” In addition, the CFTC will also ask for the public’s recommendations on the best methods to make CFTC regulations simpler, less burdensome and less costly.

Giancarlo clarified that Project KISS is not an effort to repeal or rewrite existing CFTC regulations, but instead is an effort to find new ways to apply existing CFTC regulations as they are currently written. Nevertheless, the launch of Project KISS reflects Giancarlo’s desire to strike a balance between the need for state-regulated markets and flexibility enabling market participants to conduct business.

Given the significant amount of regulations that resulted from Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Project KISS affords market participants an opportunity to work with the CFTC to refine those regulatory requirements that have proven unworkable or unduly burdensome.