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OIG Criticizes CFTC's Stress Testing Program

In its semi-annual report to Congress covering the period October 1st, 2018 through March 31st, 2019, the CFTC Office of the Inspector General ("OIG") expressed "disappoint[ment]" with the CFTC's lack of progress in addressing whistleblower allegations of mismanagement by the Risk Surveillance Branch of the CFTC Division of Clearing and Risk.

Following complaints voiced by multiple CFTC whistleblowers, the OIG criticized the Risk Surveillance Branch for:

  • hampering the development of CFTC stress-testing capabilities;

  • undermining efforts to improve the usability of uncleared swaps data;

  • blocking various employees from accessing certain information technology resources; and

  • overstating publicly the independence and coverage of its 2016 Supervisory Stress Test program.

In response to the report, a new Deputy Director of Risk Surveillance Branch was installed in September 2018.

As of May 2019, the OIG stated that the department has been slow to implement the necessary changes. Since its investigation into the mismanagement was made public, the OIG expressed concern that market participants may falsely believe that substantive improvements to the quality and independence of CFTC's stress-testing reports and capabilities were made. The OIG noted that it is "reserv[ing] judgment . . . regarding whether further changes and new leadership prove sufficient to address the deficiencies our report described."

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