The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Rostin Behnam to be chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the same day President Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate two to Republican commissioner openings at the agency.
Behnam, a Democrat, was named acting CFTC chair in January. Though his term at the agency expired in June, he remained on through his nomination to be reappointed as full-time chair announced by Biden in September.
Behnam’s nomination hearing was held in October. His appointment to a term expiring June 19, 2026, was confirmed by voice vote.
“Rostin Behnam can now finally shake the ‘acting’ title and officially take the helm at the CFTC,” said John Boozman (R-Ark.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, in a statement. “He has proven himself more than ready for the role while overseeing the agency pre-confirmation.”
With Behnam’s appointment confirmed, the rest of the five-member CFTC can take shape. Republican Dawn DeBerry Stump will not seek another five-year appointment when her current term ends in April 2022, which would leave Behnam as the sole active commissioner.
In September, Biden nominated Democrats Kristin Johnson and Christy Goldsmith Romero as commissioners. Their nominations have not yet been included on the Senate’s executive agenda.
Joining them as nominees announced by Biden on Wednesday are Summer Mersinger and Caroline Pham. Mersinger has served as Stump’s chief of staff at the CFTC since December 2020, previously working more than a year as director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the agency. Prior to joining the CFTC, she worked eight years as deputy chief of staff to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).
Pham is a managing director at Citi, where she previously worked as global head of compliance and deputy head of global regulatory affairs. She is currently head of market structure for strategic initiatives in the bank’s Institutional Clients Group and represents Citi on the executive committee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.
Pham’s prior experience includes serving as special counsel and policy advisor to former CFTC Commissioner Scott O’Malia (2009-14).
CFTC rules require that no more than three commissioners at any one time may be from the same political party. The Senate approves all nominees to serve as commissioner.
“As I look ahead to 2022, the CFTC is uniquely positioned to further its role as a global leader in financial regulation,” said Behnam in a statement Thursday. ”With many challenges come many opportunities, and I am thrilled to be leading this incredible agency and its dedicated staff at a time of great change in our financial markets.”