Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam announced a reorganization of FinTech and customer protection efforts and changes to key roles as the agency evolves to address changing markets and market demographics.
Chairman Behnam is bolstering the agency’s FinTech efforts by creating the Office of Technology Innovation (OTI), formerly LabCFTC, and naming Jorge Herrada as its director.
In addition, the chairman announced that FinTech specialist Jason Somensatto, in addition to continuing his role in OTI, will be joining the Chairman’s Office along with legal advisor David Felsenthal. Further, and responding to an unprecedented rise in retail futures, options and digital asset trading, Chairman Behnam today announced the realignment of the Office of Customer Education and Outreach (OCEO) within the Office of Public Affairs. Steve Adamske is the director of the Office of Public Affairs and will also serve as interim director of OCEO with additional personnel changes to be announced at a later date.
The new Office of Technology Innovation will continue the CFTC’s efforts in incorporating innovation and technology into the agency’s regulatory oversight and mission critical functions by supporting the operating divisions and the Commission’s participation in domestic and international coordination. OTI’s new structure provides greater flexibility, ensuring that it continues to serve internal and external stakeholders by, among other things, continuing to support outreach and providing rotational opportunities for CFTC employees to gain exposure and expertise.
This reorganization and staff additions bolster an already strong team of division directors and office leadership previously announced by Chairman Behnam including the agency’s first Chief Diversity Officer.
“The accelerated engagement with FinTech through LabCFTC fulfilled its mission as set forth by former Chairman Giancarlo, and the clear intersection between financial innovation and our markets now requires an updated strategy,” said Chairman Behnam. “Our resources will be better utilized through an Office of Technology Innovation, reporting directly to the Chairman’s office and staffed by a Director, a FinTech Policy and Technology Specialist, a strategic Communications and Education leader, and rotational opportunities for all CFTC employees to gain exposure and expertise.”
“As new participants and infrastructure providers access and participate in our markets, the CFTC has a greater responsibility to provide trusted and verifiable information, education and outreach,” said Chairman Behnam. “Customers and market participants alike must act responsibly, and it is incumbent upon regulators to ensure that the investing public, including those in underserved communities, has the tools and information to make informed decisions that may impact their personal finances and the larger markets. OCEO is well equipped to do just that.”
Jorge Herrada, Office of Technology Innovation Director
Jorge Herrada will serve as the new director of the Office of Technology Innovation after recently completing a one-year detail as the Senior Technology Advisor to the TechLab at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where he helped to guide the vision and experiments regarding Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Prior to joining the Federal Reserve Board, Jorge served for four years as the Senior Technology Advisor for LabCFTC, where he focused on innovation, advanced technology, analytics, finance, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), and cryptocurrencies. He led the CFTC Technology Advisory Committee’s Virtual Currencies Subcommittee, the DLT Subcommittee, and the High-Frequency Subcommittee. Prior to joining the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Mr. Herrada served as a Senior Principal at American Management Systems (AMS–now CGI). At AMS, he was a systems architect and software engineer. Mr. Herrada earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a BS in Management Science from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
Jason Somensatto, FinTech Policy and Technology Advisor
Jason Somensatto will join Chairman Behnam’s office as FinTech Policy Specialist where he will advise the Chairman on the CFTC’s oversight of the digital asset market. He joined the CFTC in February 2021 and previously served as the Acting Director of LabCFTC. Before joining the CFTC, Mr. Somensatto was the senior counsel for a startup developing exchange infrastructure for the digital asset market. Since 2014, he has published several articles and spoken publicly on the intersection of financial regulation and distributed ledger technology. Mr. Somensatto also spent over a decade as an attorney in private practice where he represented clients in government investigations and enforcement matters. He holds a JD from the George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of Virginia.
David Felsenthal, Counsel to the Chairman
David Felsenthal has been appointed counsel to the Chairman. He will work on issues related to digital assets, climate and other matters. Previously, he was a partner and head of the derivatives practice at Clifford Chance US LLP. Prior to that, Mr. Felsenthal was a lawyer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He has spoken and written extensively on issues related to derivatives, regulation and finance. He holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Princeton University.