R.J. O’Brien & Associates, the oldest and largest independent futures commissions merchant, has confirmed the passing of its chairman emeritus Robert J. O'Brien Sr. at the age of 103. As the former president of the firm – the last surviving founding member firm of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – O'Brien sat on the board of CME from 1964 to 1977 and served as its chair in 1967-68. During his tenure on the board, he was instrumental in changing the governance structure at the CME to make it more democratic and professional.
"A true pioneer of finance, Robert J. O'Brien Sr. was instrumental in expanding futures trading to new users around the world," said Terry Duffy, chairman and CEO, CME Group. "Under his leadership, R.J. O'Brien & Associates grew into the largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States."
O’Brien was an active participant in the futures industry for more than five decades. Among his many achievements, he took delivery of the first live cattle contract traded on the CME, broadcast the first live commodity report from the trading floor, and sponsored the first woman to work on the trading floor. A native of Chicago, O’Brien returned to the city after World War II and graduated from DePaul University. He joined John V. McCarthy & Co, the predecessor of R. J. O’Brien, in 1952.
"At the age of nearly 104, Bob was an inspiration to so many in the futures industry. His integrity, market knowledge and the knack to connect with market participants was unmatched. Bob continued to inspire us all with his profound integrity and sharp wit," said RJO Chairman and CEO Gerald Corcoran.
"FIA was honored to induct Bob into the Futures Hall of Fame in 2007, recognizing his many achievements and the pioneering role he played in the industry," said FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken. "His legacy and character will long be remembered".
It is with great sadness that we report Adolfo Sastron, head of business development, funding and derivatives at the Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corp., passed away at the end of December. Sastron, who was a long-time member of FIA's Operations Americas Division, has been described by former colleagues as a true family man with many friends in the industry. Sastron joined CDCC in 2015 from R.J. O'Brien where he was vice president, institutional sales and business development. Prior to this he was director, exchange-traded derivatives execution and clearing services at RBC Capital Markets in Montreal.
"Over the years, I've had the pleasure and privilege of working closely with Adolfo. He was a kind man with a beautiful smile and a calm and peaceful demeanour," said Mark Bourcier, former senior account manager, TMX and a fellow member of the FIA Operations Division. "I'll miss our wonderful discussions on soccer, travel and many other topics. He always had a well-considered point of view and a great sense of humour. One of the most pleasant people I have ever met. His colleagues, friends and broad network will miss him greatly."
Gene Streid of GH Financials has sadly passed away after a battle with cancer, aged 54. Streid joined GHF in 2018 and previously worked as a risk analyst at Traditum Group and as a trading desk manager at Sangamon Trading, all in Chicago.
In a message on LinkedIn, Mark Phelps, the former group chief executive of GHF, said, "Gene was a unique character, smart, knowledgeable and would always speak his mind, always providing a well thought out opinion or argument combined with a great sense of humour. A totally solid bloke, he will be greatly missed by all his colleagues and many of GHFs clients."
The US Senate has confirmed Rostin Behnam as chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Behnam, a Democrat, was named acting CFTC chair in January. Though his term at the agency expired in June, he remained on through his nomination to be reappointed as full-time chair. His term as chairman will expire on 19 June 2026.
President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Summer Mersinger and Caroline Pham for Republican commission seats on the CFTC. Two other nominations — Democrats Kristin Johnson and Christy Goldsmith Romero — have been pending since September. If all four nominations are confirmed by the Senate, the CFTC will have a full slate of commissioners for the first time in several years. Mersinger currently serves as chief of staff to CFTC Commissioner Dawn Stump and as the director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs. Pham is a managing director at Citi where she has held various senior roles, including global head of compliance and deputy head of global regulatory affairs. She is currently head of market structure for strategic initiatives in Citi’s Institutional Clients Group.
Germany's new government has appointed Joachim Nagel as the new head of the Bundesbank, the eurozone's biggest national central bank, for an eight-year term. Nagel, a former Bundesbank board member, succeeds Jens Weidmann, who retired after more than 10 years in office. The Bundesbank chief is a member of the European Central Bank’s 25-person governing council and as a representative of the eurozone’s biggest economy plays a key role in setting policy for the ECB. Nagel previously was deputy head of banking at the Bank for International Settlements. He was also a member of the Deutsche Börse supervisory board from May 2018 to June 2020 and the chairman of the board's risk committee.
The board of supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority has appointed Erik Thedéen as its vice-chair. Thedéen, who is the director general of the Swedish Finansinspektionen, will serve a two-and-a-half-year term effective immediately and replaces Anneli Tuominen, who has served her term. Tuominen meanwhile is leaving her role as director-general of Finland’s financial watchdog after being appointed as ECB representative to the supervisory board for a five-year term. Tuominen will succeed Pentti Hakkarainen, whose five-year term ends on 31 January.
Gwyneth Nurse will become the new director general, financial services at HM Treasury, taking over from Katharine Braddick, who is joining Barclays as director of public policy. Nurse, previously director, financial services, joined HM Treasury in 2003 and has held a number of roles including deputy director, assets, savings and wealth, and deputy director, banking and credit.
Dennis McLaughlin has left the London Stock Exchange Group where he was head of financial risk, a position he took on in January 2021. McLaughlin was previously group chief risk officer of LCH, LSEG's clearinghouse. He joined LCH in 2012 from Aon, where he was the CEO for innovation and analytics. Prior to that, he was global head of capital and balance sheet management at Merrill Lynch and director of capital, global consumer group at Citi. He began his finance career as a consultant in the global risk management practice at McKinsey.
Chris Rhodes, the former global head of financial derivatives at Intercontinental Exchange, has rejoined the exchange group as chief operating officer of ICE Clear Europe, reporting to ICE Clear Europe president Hester Serafini. Rhodes left ICE in 2019 to become chief risk officer at proprietary trading firm Tyler Capital. He joined ICE in 2015 as head of European interest rates and in 2018, was promoted to global head of financial derivatives covering ICE’s global interest rate and equity derivatives markets.
In other appointments, Jeremy Venables has been named chief technology officer of ICE Clear Europe. Venables joined ICE Clear Europe in June 2021 as head of change and technology from TP ICAP where he was head of electronic markets, EMEA. Prior to this he was head of trading technology at Tullett Prebon and held a range of senior positions at ICAP, including head of ecommerce, EMEA. Before joining ICAP in 2001 he was head of risk management at Sydney Futures Exchange.
Gary Gensler, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has added four people to his staff. Corey Frayer will advise Gensler on SEC policymaking and inter-agency work relating to the oversight of crypto assets. Frayer previously worked on the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for Chairman Sherrod Brown. Jorge Tenreiro will counsel Gensler on enforcement matters. He joined the SEC in 2013 as a staff attorney in the New York Regional Office and later served as senior trial counsel. Phil Havenstein will advise Gensler on matters related to agency administration, operations, and management. He joined the SEC in 2014 as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Human Resources. Jennifer Songer will counsel Gensler on matters related to investment companies and investment advisers. Previously she worked in the SEC's investment management division.
Colin Lloyd has joined Sullivan & Cromwell in New York as a partner in the firm’s Commodities, Futures and Derivatives and Capital Markets Groups, focusing on advising clients on a broad range of securities and derivatives regulatory, enforcement, transactional, and legislative matters. He is also advising a number of clients, from startups to established global financial institutions, on the use of blockchain, digital assets and cryptocurrencies. Lloyd joins from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, where he was a partner with expertise in crypto trading, based in New York.
- News & Commentary