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Skidmore College

Senate confirms Christopher Giancarlo '81 as CFTC commissioner

June 4, 2014

J. Christopher Giancarlo ’81 has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as one of five commissioners on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the nation’s main derivatives regulator.

Since 2001, Giancarlo has been a senior executive of the interdealer broker GFI Group, responsible chiefly for the firm’s strategic development and communications. He will resign from GFI and fill the Republican seat left by Jill E. Sommers.

Christopher Giancarlo '81
Christopher Giancarlo '81

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act dramatically expanded the authority of the CFTC, from the $40 trillion futures industry to the $400 trillion market for complex derivatives, which in the 1980s began trading privately on Wall Street between banks, hedge funds and other clients. Derivatives were blamed for contributing to the destabilization of the financial system in 2008.

The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Timothy G. Massad, a former lawyer at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as chair of the agency, and Sharon Y. Bowen, a New York-based lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLP, as a commissioner.

This is a critical time for the agency, which has been given the task of establishing tougher rules on derivatives and futures as part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law.

Giancarlo’s colleagues think he’s an ideal choice for the job.

“Chris is deeply knowledgeable about the global swaps and futures markets,” said Colin Heffron, CEO of GFI Group.  “His business leadership and legal expertise will be of tremendous help to the Commission as it completes the implementation of financial regulatory reform.”

Michael Gooch, executive chairman, added, “GFI Group has benefitted from Chris’s energy, acumen and common sense for more than a decade. He is worthy of this recognition and the chance to put his knowledge and experience to work in service to the American public.”  

Giancarlo said he looks forward to “applying the ‘creative thought matters’ approach I learned at Skidmore to the challenge of financial market reform in the wake of the 2008 credit crisis."

A government major at Skidmore who went on to Vanderbilt Law School, Giancarlo was close to Phyllis Roth, who died in 2012 after many years of service to the College as professor of English, dean of the faculty, and acting and interim president. In recognition of her contributions, he and his wife Regina created the Phyllis A. Roth Vampire Literature College in Scribner Library.

An avid banjo player, Giancarlo is featured on British recording artist Mike Marlin’s 2013 album, Grand Reveal. He and Regina live in Bergen County, N.J. with their three children.

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