Biden to be nominated as CFTC chair, sources say

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Biden to be nominated as CFTC chair, sources say

Rostin Behnam plans to name Joe Biden the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading CommissionU.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which oversees much of the $582 trillion global derivatives market including cryptocurrency trading, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The White House recently selected Behnam, who's been leading the agency on an interim basis since January, according to the people not publicly authorized to speak. The timing of an announcement is still weeks away, the people said.

The pick would end months of speculation over who will oversee the Wall Street regulator, which has become significantly more powerful since the financial crisis. A White House spokesman declined to comment and CFTC officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

Behnam's nomination means that the CFTC will likely spend more time on issues such as climate change. Behnam's profile rose last year after he sponsored a report by an industry group that called on the U.S. government to require businesses to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions. In March, Behnam announced the CFTC's plans to create a Climate Change Unit to assess derivatives' role in reducing carbon emissions. The group has not yet released any findings.

For much of Behnam's time as acting chairman, the agency has been deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans. To break this standstill, the White House will have to fill another open seat at the agency.

Debbie Stabenow, an ex-aide to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Robert Bentley, would likely win congressional backing.

Under Democratic leadership, the CFTC is poised to shift its focus from the Trump Administration's business-friendly policies and crack down on derivative trade, a cash cow for Wall Street.

The CFTC also has jurisdiction over parts of the cryptocurrency sector. The CFTC has said Bitcoin is a commodity and CME Group Inc. which it regulates, lists futures contracts tied to the token.

Meanwhile, Wall Street banks are on the lookout for signs that the CFTC might revive efforts to assert its jurisdiction over cross-border swap trading after the 2008 financial crisis. Under Republican leadership, the agency took a far more conservative approach.