Gensler declines to comment on second term as CFTC head
BOCA RATON, Fla., March 13 (Reuters) - Gary Gensler declined to comment on reports that he would serve a second term at the head of the top U.S. derivatives regulator, to see it through the final phase of its Wall Street reform effort.
President Barack Obama asked Gensler to remain at the helm of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Reuters and other media reported this month that Gensler had not made up his mind.
"I usually try not to disagree with the press," Gensler told a news conference when asked about the reports. "I'm not going to go further on the story other than to say this is an incredible job, an opportunity, a privilege, and there's an awful lot more to do here."
Gensler became chairman of the CFTC in May 2009, helping the once-sleepy futures regulator take on massive new responsibilities for overseeing swaps, and working extensively with members of Congress to craft the new laws.
The Democratic victory in last year's presidential election has changed the succession dynamics at the CFTC, scuppering chances of any Republican hopefuls. Without renomination, Gensler can stay on until the end of the year.
Commissioner Jill Sommers, a Republican, has since announced her departure, while Commissioner Mark Wetjen, a Democrat who worked for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is seen as a possible successor to Gensler.
Gensler also said the imminent departure of a top aide, Dan Berkovitz, was unrelated to any succession issue.
Berkovitz, who is 56, will retire at the end of the month, having led the legal review of new rules the agency was mandated to write through the Dodd-Frank financial reform act that was meant to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis.
Gensler's aggressive involvement in the legislative process helped his agency win broad new powers to require over-the-counter swaps to be traded on regulated platforms and centrally cleared to help reduce the risk of a default.
It also brought him enemies among Republicans, who complained that many of the rules he has championed could hurt companies that rely on swaps to help hedge their risks, such as interest-rate fluctuations or oil price moves.
Market participants are still awaiting rules for exchange-like platforms to trade financial derivatives known as Swap Execution Facilities, the last remaining major piece of legislation ahead of the CFTC.
(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)