Rostin Behnam was nominated by President Trump as a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on July 13, 2017, was unanimously confirmed by the Unites States Senate on August 3, 2017, and was sworn in to serve as a Commissioner on September 6, 2017 for a term expiring in June 2021.
Commissioner Behnam arrived at the CFTC with extensive experience in financial and agricultural markets. After earning an A.B. in English literature and a minor in economics from Georgetown University, Commissioner Behnam worked as a proprietary equities trader in New York City, structuring and executing technical and fundamental trading strategies during a period of significant technological change. Seeking to improve and help shape the intersection between financial markets, public policy, and the law, Commissioner Behnam pursued a Juris Doctorate at Syracuse University. While a student, his experiences interning within the Division of Enforcement at the CFTC’s New York Regional Office motivated Commissioner Behnam to direct his professional attention on protecting consumers and individual investors.
Upon graduation, he returned to his home state of New Jersey and joined the Bureau of Securities within the state’s Office of the Attorney General. As an Investigator within the Bureau, Commissioner Behnam helped further the Bureau’s mission of protecting investors from investment fraud and regulating the securities industry in New Jersey through various enforcement actions and regulatory and financial literacy efforts. Following his time with the Bureau of Securities, Commissioner Behnam practiced law in New York City, representing public and private companies on a range of corporate law and regulatory matters.
In 2011, Commissioner Behnam joined the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, as senior counsel to Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the Committee’s Ranking Member. As senior counsel to Senator Stabenow from 2011 through his 2017 appointment, Commissioner Behnam primarily focused on policy and legislation matters related to the CFTC and the United States Department of Agriculture, agencies within the direct jurisdictional purview of the Committee. Within that role, Commissioner Behnam was also responsible for reviewing and vetting all executive branch nominations reported out of the Agriculture Committee.
Commissioner Behnam’s major responsibilities included advising Senator Stabenow on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In addition to the derivatives title, Commissioner Behnam also advised Senator Stabenow on all Dodd-Frank matters affecting the Treasury Department, the U.S. prudential regulators, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Commissioner Behnam served as lead advisor to Senator Stabenow during the investigation of MF Global, following its 2011 bankruptcy. Commissioner Behnam worked as legal counsel and led negotiations on the 2013 Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, several key provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill, the 2015 Cotton Futures Act, and the 2016 National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.
Since joining the CFTC, Commissioner Behnam has advocated that the CFTC utilize its authority and expertise to ensure the derivatives markets innovate responsibly within an appropriate oversight framework and promote coordination and engagement among the financial regulators and innovators. As sponsor of the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee, Commissioner Behnam convenes leading market experts and public consumer groups to engage in a public dialog on the timeliest issues relating to evolving market structures and movement of risk across clearinghouses, exchanges, intermediaries, market makers, and end-users.
Commissioner Behnam lives in Baltimore with his wife and two daughters. He combines his love for travel with running, and enjoys discovering the places he visits with a pair of sneakers and a willingness to get a little lost if it means discovering a city by foot.