After four years at the helm of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Jim Newsome crossed the fence in August and took on what many in the industry see as a difficult role: president of New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex). Here, he speaks to FO Week about the challenges and rewards in the private sector, and what the future has in store for both Nymex and CFTC. Interview by Mike Topping
How have you found the first month as head of
the exchange compared with being a regulator?
It's been a challenge to get up to speed on the issues that
are in front of the exchange. But it's been good. Every day I
develop more comfort and feel like I'm making progress.
While I certainly don't have experience running an exchange, I
think the core responsibilities are management, and in my role
as chairman of CFTC you're kind of the chairman, president and
ceo all wrapped into one. With a very similar size staff as
here at Nymex, so a lot of similarities from that
What motivated the move?
Naturally anyone likes an increase in salary, but more
importantly I had been at CFTC for six years. I don't view
those kind of appointed positions as career positions and I
think it was natural that at some point in time I'd look back
to the private sector to go to work. The typical time period in
government for appointees is three years, so I've doubled that.
One of the things that really excites me is, having worked on
the Commodity Futures Modernisation Act [CFMA] and implemented
it as CFTC chairman is now having the opportunity to utilise
the Act as part of the exchange.
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