* Public Citizen urges two-week delay for sensitive data
* Sen. Sanders hopes to push CFTC on position limits
* FIA says info release shook market confidence
By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON, Aug 31 The U.S. futures regulator
should be required to make public the size and nature of energy
trader positions each week, a consumer advocacy group said on
Wednesday, the latest call to change the way market-sensitive
data is handled.
Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program,
said in a letter the group recognizes that daily disclosure of
trading position data would be problematic, so it proposed that
company-specific data be released by the Commodity Futures
Trading Commission two weeks after the daily close.
"Such a delay should be more than adequate to protect
traders' interests while providing the public access to the key
players involved in energy futures' markets," said Slocum.
The group's recommendation would exceed the tranparency
required by the Dodd-Frank financial markets reform that the
CFTC has been implementing, and also would go beyond the
disclosure requirements for the U.S. stock market.
The letter was sent to Gary Gensler, the head of the CFTC,
and to the top Republicans and Democrats on the Senate and
House Agriculture committees, which oversee the futures
A CFTC spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The request comes two weeks after Sen. Bernie Sanders
released data showing the names and energy positions held by
more than 200 speculators, including Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and
Morgan Stanley (MS.N), in the run-up to record high prices in
Sanders, a Vermont Independent, said he felt the data
needed to be made public and hoped the release would push the
CFTC to eliminate excessive speculation as it is required to do
His release of the oil data drew criticism from the Futures
Industry Association, which last week asked the CFTC to
investigate and determine whether any laws were broken.
Current regulations require futures market participants to
submit data anonymously to regulators. The CFTC then publishes
a weekly commodity market report. It categorizes the data by
trader type, such as swap dealer, but does not identify the
individual trader. Slocum asked that the specific trader
positions be included in this report.
In comparison, in the U.S. equity markets whenever an
investor accumulates 5 percent or more of a company's stock,
the position must be disclosed within 10 days.
Hedge funds are required to release 13-F filings detailing
their stock market positions on a quarterly basis, 45 days
after the end of the period.
The Futures Industry Association complained that the
senator's release of the information "poses a serious threat to
the confidence" by market participants in the CFTC to protect
proprietary data and raises troubling questions about the
ability of Congress to handle the information.
The CFTC is legally prohibited from releasing confidential
information that identifies trader positions and identities.
By law, the CFTC must hand over such information if a
Congressional committee acting within its proper authority
requests it. There is nothing to prevent lawmakers from
releasing it to the public.
(Editing by David Gregorio)