Regulator: Fed should reverse course on bank commodity investments

A top derivatives regulator is reportedly calling on the Federal Reserve to reverse course on allowing investment banks to own metal warehouses and other "real world" pieces of commodity infrastructure.

Bloomberg reported Monday that Bart Chilton, a Democratic member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission known for tough Wall Street critiques, called on the Fed to reverse its policy.

“I don’t want a bank owning an electric service, or cotton, corn or feedlots,” he will tell a group of cotton growers in California in a prepared speech. “I don’t want banks owning warehouses, whether they have aluminum, gold, silver, or anything else in them.”


Chilton will make his case as scrutiny is ramping up on Capitol Hill about whether investment banks should be permitted to actually own commodities and the infrastructure that enables their use while actively trading in those same commodities in financial markets.


The central bank announced in July it was reviewing its 2003 decision to allow banks to invest in certain commodity activities, and a number of other industries have complained that the financial sector is driving up commodity prices through those investments.

Several Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee have called on regulators to address the matter, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has asked CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler to examine whether bankers were manipulating the aluminum market.