U.S. Proposes to Merge CFTC and SEC

Opinions differ on proposal.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed Monday a far-ranging restructuring of the U.S. financial regulatory system that would change how the government regulates thousands of the country's financial businesses and watchdogs, including a proposal that would merge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Security & Exchange Commission into one super agency in charge of business conduct and consumer protection. The CFTC-SEC merger is not an immediate objective but an intermediate-term one that would require extensive study that would address harmonization of the separate and very distinct regulatory frameworks of the two agencies.

CME Group Inc., which operates the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, commended the treasury department's efforts "to examine how our nation's financial regulatory system can be improved" and said it was especially gratified that Paulson said a CFTC-SEC merger should be further studied and is not a short-term goal.

However, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says merely restructuring the bureaucracy will not solve the problems in the U.S. financial markets and calls the idea misguided.

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