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CFTC outlines 35-member composition of climate change risk panel

SNL Image

Rostin Behnam, a commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, revealed Nov. 14 the 35 individuals who will serve on the regulator's climate-risk subcommittee.
Source: AP Photo

Almost three dozen individuals have been named to a U.S. financial regulator's first-of-its-kind panel dedicated to assessing the risk that climate change poses to U.S. markets.

Rostin Behnam, a Democratic commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, unveiled Nov. 14 that the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee will consist of 35 executives, academics and sustainability experts. The subcommittee is part of the CFTC's broader Market Risk Advisory Committee.

The subcommittee will be led by Robert Litterman, Kepos Capital LP's founder and chairman of its risk committee. Among the other representatives on the subcommittee are CME Group Inc. Chief Commercial Officer Julie Winkler, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Climate Risk Executive Rene Ramos, and BP PLC Global Environmental Products Commercial Manager Naty Figueroa. Martina Cheung, president of S&P Global Inc.-owned S&P Global Market Intelligence LLC, is also a member of the subcommittee.

"Having spent my career focused on risk management, and most recently climate risk, I am encouraged that the CFTC is bringing the private sector, academia and the public interest together on this urgent issue," Litterman said in a statement.

The CFTC subcommittee, which was revealed publicly in June, has been tasked with creating a report by mid-2020 to address a mix of topics including the challenges in evaluating or managing climate-related risks to the financial sector and markets, how market participants can improve on their integration of climate-related stress tests, and what policy measures regulators could pursue to promote best practices for climate change-related risk management and disclosures.

Behnam, who sponsors the Market Risk Advisory Committee, told S&P Global Market Intelligence in a recent interview that he created the panel to gather ideas on how the CFTC and other regulators can work alongside the private sector to address the mounting risks that climate change poses to U.S. and global markets.

He is not the only U.S. regulator that has recently aired concerns about the financial implications of climate change.

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly recently said at a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve that the U.S. central bank cannot "afford to ignore" the economic impact of climate change. Fed Governor Lael Brainard added at the same conference that the Fed could be "more effective in supporting a strong economy and a stable financial system" if it were to participate more actively in climate-related research and practice.

The day before Daly and Brainard's remarks, Kevin Stiroh, executive vice president at the New York Fed, detailed in a speech the fact that climate and weather-related events have driven more than $500 billion in direct losses over the past five years.

"Addressing the near- and long-term impacts of climate change on our financial markets and the greater economy requires an unprecedented level of coordination," Behnam said in a statement. "As we continue to encounter more frequent extreme weather events, and to formulate plans to adapt to changes in average climate conditions, I believe — without hesitation — that taking these first, critical steps toward achieving long-term resiliency to climate change can prevent us from paying the costs of responding ad hoc to likely indicators that may spark the next financial crisis."