U.S. CFTC official advises stricter oversight of funds managing family wealth

U.S. CFTC official advises stricter oversight of funds managing family wealth

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the top U.S. swaps regulator, should reverse its loosening of oversight of family offices, a Democratic commissioner said on Thursday in response to the blowup of Archegos Capital.

The downfall of the family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang triggered billions in potential losses for global banks. Archegos, free from regulatory scrutiny, had amassed large positions in stocks, including ViacomCBS, using risky derivatives known as “total return swaps,” regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Archegos blowup highlights the need for stronger oversight and a reversal of the regulatory rollback of the past two years that keep family offices from regulatory oversight, Democratic Commissioner Dan Berkovitz said in a statement published on the CFTC website.

“To protect the integrity of the commodity markets, the Commission must be aware of and able to monitor the activities of large family offices,” he said.

Family offices are entities established by wealthy families to manage their money and provide related services to family members, such as tax and estate planning, as well as managing philanthropic ventures. Single family offices generally are not regulated.

The commodity regulator, which oversees the broader swaps market worth hundreds of trillions of dollars, has loosened its oversight of family offices since 2019. The moves were part of a broader rollback under Republican former President Donald Trump of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms.

Regulators have been monitoring the situation and speaking with market players last week as they seek to understand the Archegos fallout.