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Former CFTC Chair Appointed Chairman of Common Securitization Solutions; FHFA Announces Changes to Board Structure

Appointment of J. Christopher Giancarlo as independent, non-Executive Chairman of the Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1/15/2020

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that J. Christopher “Chris" Giancarlo, former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will serve as independent, non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Common Securitization Solutions LLC (CSS) and that CSS will amend the structure of its Board of Directors. This amended structure provides Anthony Renzi, appointed in December 2019 as CSS CEO, a seat on the Board and also allows FHFA to appoint up to three additional independent directors. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will each retain their two current Board seats. There will be up to nine Board members in total.

CSS, a joint venture between the Enterprises, built and runs the technology platform that supports the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS). Both Enterprises began using the CSS Common Securitization Platform (CSP) in June of 2019. 

“Chris Giancarlo is the right person to serve as independent Chairman of the CSS Board. Chris' unique balance of public service and financial sector experience will be an asset to CSS," said FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “Now is the time to add independent CSS Board members to assess and enable additional entrants onto the CSP. More competition means lower costs for consumers and a more liquid and stable housing finance market."

“I am honored to be appointed by Director Calabria as the Chairman of CSS's Board of Directors. As Chairman, I will promote the modernization of America's housing finance infrastructure, with the goal of creating a more competitive, efficient, and lower cost housing finance market that preserves all Americans' access to mortgages," said CSS Chairman Chris Giancarlo upon his appointment. “The Board will guide CSS as it supports the Enterprises' mortgage securitization activities, including continuing the development of the UMBS.  Part of that development is assessing the impact and utilization of UMBS as a financial instrument and its attractiveness for additional entrants and guarantors, as well as examining its potential use for additional services related to securitizations and emerging digital technologies, including securitization tokenization using distributed ledger technology."

HONORABLE J. CHRISTOPHER GIANCARLO:  Mr. Giancarlo is a former business executive who served as the 13th Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Mr. Giancarlo, first nominated as a CFTC Commissioner by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in June 2014, was nominated as CFTC Chairman by President Donald Trump and again unanimously confirmed in August 2017. At the CFTC, Mr. Giancarlo oversaw regulation of the futures, options, and swaps derivatives markets, including a focus on regulatory guidance for emerging technologies such as blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. As CFTC Chairman, Mr. Giancarlo also served as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Committee (FSOC), the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, and the Executive Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) as well as participated in meetings of the Financial Stability Board (FSB). He departed the CFTC in July 2019 following the expiration of his five-year term. 

Currently, Mr. Giancarlo is Senior Counsel to the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. He also serves as a board member of the American Financial Exchange (AFX), the sponsor of Ameribor and Ameribor Futures, and a member of the advisory board to the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a trade group focused on US blockchain and crypto policy. He is a founding board member and former Chairman of the Wholesale Markets Brokers Association, Americas. He was also a member of the Leadership Board of the Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to entering public service, Mr. Giancarlo served as the Executive Vice President of financial services firm, GFI Group Inc., where he led GFI's growth from a privately held partnership to a publicly traded company. He also previously served as Executive Vice President and US Legal Counsel of Fenics Software. Mr. Giancarlo was also a corporate partner in the New York law firm of Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner, a founding partner at Giancarlo & Gleiberman, and an associate in the London office of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle.

Mr. Giancarlo holds a JD from Vanderbilt University School of Law and a BA, Phi Beta Kappa, from Skidmore College. He is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. In May 2019, the City of London Corporation awarded Mr. Giancarlo “The Freedom of the City," an honor dating back to the Middle Ages.

COMMON SECURITIZATION SOLUTIONS:  The Federal Housing Finance Agency's 2014 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac included the strategic goal of developing a new securitization infrastructure for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgage loans backed by single-family properties. To achieve this goal, Common Securitization Solutions (CSS), a joint venture owned by the Enterprises, developed a Common Securitization Platform (CSP) under FHFA's direction and guidance. The CSP supports the Enterprises' single-family mortgage securitization activities, including the issuance by both Enterprises of a common single mortgage-backed security known as the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS).  The issuance of UMBS is meant to improve the overall liquidity of the Enterprises' securities and ensure liquidity in the nation's housing finance markets.  The CSP now administers, on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, nearly 1 million securities, backed by loans with $4.8 trillion in unpaid principal balance.

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $6.3 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions. Additional information is available at www.FHFA.gov, on Twitter, @FHFA, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Contacts:

Media:   Raffi Williams (202) 649-3544  / Stefanie Johnson (202) 649-3030

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