We'll Probably Regulate Bloomberg: CFTC's Chilton
Bart Chilton, commissioner of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, said Thursday on CNBC he believes his agency will be able to regulate the relationship between Bloomberg's trading business on its terminals and its news operation.
"If the trading arm may have an effect on the news arm … we should be able to look at them," he explained on "Squawk Box"—nearly a week since the revelations that Bloomberg reporters had access to some proprietary client information on their data terminals. Bloomberg facilitates trillions of dollars of trading every year through those terminals, according to Chilton.
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On Thursday, the CFTC is holding an open meeting on a proposed transparency rule mandated under the Dodd-Frank Act for swaps execution facilities. These are digital platforms, like Bloomberg's terminals, that traders can use to make trades, Chilton explained.
"We are going to regulate these electronic platforms. And presumably Bloomberg won't throw away their business. They'll register with us," he continued. "Once they're registered with us, then they will come under our authority and we will be able to look at things like the news part—if there's some sort of correlation or even if we think there's correlation that might impact prices."
In an op-ed published on Monday, Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, wrote that the news division is holding itself accountable. He acknowledged: "Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable."
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Chilton said: Large banks "need some protection from news organizations if they are going in and mining data that is inappropriate and using it in an irresponsible fashion. Not just the big banks, it goes for every trader."
"Of course we have a role if they're impacting the markets," he concluded.
(Disclosure: Bloomberg is a competitor of CNBC in reporting and distributing business news on the Web and on television.)