Global derivatives body ISDA names O'Malia as CEO

HONG KONG, July 23 Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:47am EDT

HONG KONG, July 23 (Reuters) - Global derivatives trade group, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), said on Wednesday it had appointed leading U.S. regulator Scott O'Malia as its chief executive.

O'Malia, who on Monday said he was stepping down from his role as a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will join the ISDA from Aug 18, a dramatic move that will see him represent the banks he has regulated for the past four-and-a-half years.

ISDA is the major global lobby group for the over-the-counter derivatives market, counting the world's largest investment banks among its members. The trade body has played a key role in the broader debate on how to make the derivatives markets safer after the 2008 global financial crisis.

The appointment comes at as the international banking community is starting to get to grips with new derivatives trading rules introduced under the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act.

The detailed Dodd-Frank rules have been penned by the CFTC, in a process that has been mired in controversy, both internally within the organisation. The rules have also courted the ire of international regulators, most notably the European Union, which is introducing its own derivatives rules.

O'Malia served as one of five CFTC commissioners since October 2009, having previously held several senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate. He succeeds Robert Pickel, who announced in April he was stepping down from the ISDA after nearly 17 years with the trade group.

During his time at the CFTC, O'Malia, a Republican, became an outspoken critic of the Dodd-Frank rule-making process, which he said had been rushed, confused and lacked transparency.

"The need by thousands of companies around the world to manage and hedge their business and financial risks via derivatives remains as important as ever," O'Malia said in a statement.

"ISDA's role is to ensure derivatives markets help to fulfill this promise. It is a role that remains vital and relevant." (Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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