Heath Tarbert is planning to step down as chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission in January. The Republican lawyer joined the CFTC in July 2019 after serving as assistant secretary for international markets at the US Treasury Department. In a statement, he said he will continue to serve as a CFTC commissioner while he finalizes his future plans. During Tarbert's tenure, the agency concluded negotiations with the EU and UK to build stronger relationships, finalized 40 rules and proposed 21 more. FIA's MarketVoice magazine recently featured an in-depth Q&A with Tarbert, exploring his accomplishments in this unprecedented year and what he sees as the future priorities for the agency.
It is not unusual for a CFTC chairman to step down shortly after a presidential election. Once the chair of the agency relinquishes that role, one of the other commissioners is appointed as the acting chair until a permanent replacement is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The acting chair role historically has been filled by a member of the new president’s party. Dan Berkovitz and Rostin Behnam are the two Democrats now serving on the five-member Commission.
The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a shortlist of candidates for the position of chair: Maria-Luis Albuquerque, Portugal’s former minister of finance; Carmine di Noia, commissioner of the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa in Italy; and Verena Ross, who currently serves as executive director of ESMA. The Council of the EU will appoint the chair following confirmation from the European Parliament. The successful candidate will take up the role on 1 April, replacing Steven Maijoor.
James McDonald, the former enforcement director of the CFTC, is joining law firm Sullivan & Cromwell as a partner in New York. McDonald will team up with former US Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement co-director Steven Peikin, who returned to Sullivan & Cromwell in November as a partner. McDonald will join as a member of the firm's Securities and Commodities Investigations and Enforcement practice. Sullivan & Cromwell is also the former home of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, who in November said he will step down from the agency at the end of the year.
In other news, Kenneth Raisler is retiring from Sullivan & Cromwell where he has worked for 29 years and is a partner and head of the Commodities, Futures and Derivatives Group. Raisler, who has been a member of FIA's board of directors since 1992, started out as an assistant US attorney for the District of Columbia in the Criminal and Civil Divisions. He then joined CFTC and was the general counsel of the Commission from 1983 to 1987. Among other positions, he was chairman of the ABA Derivatives and Futures Law Committee from 2015-2017.
Gordon Grant has joined Citi in London as global head of futures and clearing operations, reporting to Sophie Taylor, global head of middle office and equity operations. Grant also serves on the futures, OTC clearing and FX prime brokerage (FCX) global management team. He joins from Morgan Stanley, where he was most recently head of EMEA client operations.
Amy Elliott has joined UBS as managing director and head of exchange traded derivatives in the Americas, based in New York. Elliott is responsible for leading the ETD business in the region and reports to Federica Mazzucato, global head of ETD and FX prime services, and Scott Houdek, Americas head of franchise sales. Elliott joins from Goldman Sachs, where she was a managing director in futures and OTC clearing sales. Earlier in her career she worked at Lehman Brothers, covering listed products.
Quantitative Brokers, a provider of advanced execution algorithms for the futures markets, has appointed Timothy Gits as chief sales officer responsible for the company's global sales team. Gits joins the executive committee and reports to Christian Hauff, chief executive officer. His appointment was announced as Deutsche Börse acquired a majority stake in Quantitative Brokers. Gits previously spent 12 years at Eurex, most recently as deputy global head of fixed income, funding and financing. Prior to this he served in several sales roles, including head of clearing sales for the Americas.
Jerome Kemp, who recently retired from Citi, has been appointed a senior advisor at Baton Systems, a post-trade and blockchain technology provider. Kemp was previously global head of futures, OTC clearing, and FX prime brokerage at the bank. In October Baton announced that it was working with Citi to help build its treasury function for cleared derivatives.
Hope Jarkowski has been appointed as the NYSE Group’s head of equities with P&L responsibility for its five equity exchanges, the Trade Reporting Facility, Global OTC and NYSE Bonds. Jarkowski was previously co-head of Intercontinental Exchange’s government affairs division. She will continue to maintain a high level of engagement with policymakers and regulators to support NYSE and its parent company ICE more broadly, ICE said.
The SEC's Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, commonly referred to as FinHub, will become a stand-alone office. Valerie Szczepanik will continue to lead it and will report directly to the SEC chairman. The move underscores the SEC's intent to step up its commitment to identify and analyze innovation in financial technology. Prior to joining the Division of Corporation Finance where FinHub was established, Szczepanik served as assistant director in the Division of Enforcement's cyber unit.
Marco Strimer has been appointed chairman of the LME Clear board, replacing Richard Thornhill who retired after six years in the role. Strimer has been a member of the LME Clear board since 2013. For the last 10 years he has led operations at Raiffeisen Schweiz, Notenstein Private Bank and Bank J. Safra Sarasin. Before that he was CEO of SIX x-clear.
Greenwich Associates, a provider of financial services research and insights, has appointed David Easthope as a senior advisor on its market structure and technology team. Easthope will lead the team’s efforts in capital markets fintech and market data and analytics. He joins from Celent, where he led the firm’s capital markets practice.
Credit Suisse will propose Blythe Masters and Clare Brady join its board of directors as two new non-executive members at its annual general meeting in April. Masters worked at JP Morgan Chase for 27 years in a variety of roles, most recently as head of global commodities before joining blockchain and digital ledger start-up Digital Asset Holdings as CEO. Brady was previously director of internal audit at the International Monetary Fund. She is currently a non-executive director of Fidelity Asia Values and a member of the Audit and Risk Commission of the International Red Cross.
Pico, a provider of data center infrastructure and cloud technology, has appointed Brian Pomraning as chief revenue officer. Pomraning was most recently global head of product management, quantitative research and technology at Investment Technology Group. Before that he was head of equities execution services at JP Morgan in EMEA.
Susi de Verdelon, head of SwapClear and Listed Rates at LCH, has been elected to the board of directors of Women in Derivatives (WIND). WIND is a non-profit organization whose mission is to attract, retain, educate and develop female leaders in the financial industry by providing targeted channels for education and mentoring by leveraging senior leaders within the organization.
Galaxy Digital Holdings, a financial services and investment management company in the digital asset, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sector, has acquired two cryptocurrency trading firms: DrawBridge Lending and Blue Fire Capital. DrawBridge's CEO and co-founder Jason Urban will join Galaxy Digital as co-head of Galaxy Digital Trading, and will work alongside fellow co-head, Peter Wisniewski. Andrew Karos will join Galaxy Digital and remain CEO of Blue Fire, which will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.