CFTC Names Three to Senior Roles
Posted by Colin Lambert. Last updated: April 24, 2022
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has revealed three senior appointments, following the confirmation of a full bench of commissioners last month.
Chairman Rostin Behnam has named Vincent McGonagle as the new director of the Division of Market Oversight (DMO) and Ann Wright as the director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. In addition, Gretchen Lowe, currently the chief counsel of the Division of Enforcement, will take over as acting director.
McGonagle joined CFTC in 1997 and is currently the principal deputy director of the Division of Enforcement where he has also served as acting director since October 2020. In the new role he is responsible for leading a team of attorneys, investigators, economists, surveillance analysts, and other professional staff who investigate and prosecute alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.
A career civil servant and government executive, McGonagle also led the Division of Enforcement on an acting basis on two other occasions—from October to December 2010 and February to April 2017 – and has also led DMO on two occasions – from October 2013 to January 2017 as director and on an acting basis from August to September 2019.
While serving as acting director of DMO in 2019, McGonagle oversaw a number of key rulemakings, and provided guidance and direction to the division’s branches in the handling of time sensitive and complex market issues.
While leading the division from 2013 to 2017, McGonagle oversaw market surveillance, compliance examination, registration and rule review, and the contract market product review programs over trading facilities and swap data repositories. He also oversaw several rulemakings, testified twice before Senate panels, and led the transition of swaps trading to a regulated market, including the first ever permanent registration of SEFs.
From 2002 to 2013, he served as the senior deputy director of the Division of Enforcement where he opened the first regulatory investigation into Libor and other global benchmark interest rates and thereafter supervised the CFTC’s landmark enforcement cases for manipulative conduct and false reporting concerning those benchmarks.
In her role, Wright serves as the chief advisor to the CFTC chair on matters before the US Congress and serves as the Commission’s official liaison with members of Congress, federal agencies, and the Administration.
She served as deputy director of the office since November 2014. Prior to joining the CFTC, she served under Secretary Tom Vilsack at the US Department of Agriculture in the Obama Administration, as deputy under secretary for marketing and regulatory programmes and as deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Congressional Relations. In addition to her work in the Executive Branch, Wright has over 10 years of experience in the US Senate, including time working for former Majority Leader Harry Reid on issues before the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Lowe is currently the chief counsel of the division. During her tenure, she has led many of the CFTC’s most complex enforcement actions, including the Commission’s recent actions against banks and other institutions for manipulation and false reporting of global benchmark interest rates, such as Libor, actions against energy companies for attempted manipulation and false reporting of natural gas price indices, and actions involving manipulative trading in the palladium and platinum futures markets.
Prior to her appointment as chief counsel, Lowe served as the acting director of the Enforcement Division from 2013-2014, and as an associate director for over 11 years, overseeing the investigation and prosecution of numerous cases. She also served as counsellor to the director, advising on programmatic legal and policy issues and was a senior trial attorney specializing in manipulation and trade practice cases.
“With the challenges facing the agency and an ever changing and evolving market structure, I am thrilled that Vince has agreed to take over this important division at this critical time. DMO will benefit from Vince’s longtime experience and dedication to the agency,” says Behnam. “As Congress considers legislation and the agency’s annual budget, Ann’s experience and longtime service will be a key asset to the CFTC. I also very much appreciate Gretchen Lowe for serving in an acting role at this time.”