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The Political Dynamics of Derivative Securities Regulation, 14 Yale Journal on Regulation 279 (1997)


The U.S. regulation of derivative securities-financial instruments
whose value is derived from an underlying security or index of securities-is
distinctive from that of other nations because it has multiple regulators for
financial derivatives and securities. Commentators have debated whether
shifting to the unitary regulator approach taken by other nations would be
more desirable and legislation to effect such a change has been repeatedly
introduced in Congress. But it has not gotten very far. This article analyzes
the political history of the regulation of derivative securities in the United
States, in order to explain the institutional difference between the U.S.
regime and other nations' and its staying power. It examines the four
principal federal regulatory initiatives regarding derivative securities (the
Future Trading Act of 1921, the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936, the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974, and the Futures
Trading Practices Act of 1992), by a narrative account of the legislative
process and a quantitative analysis of roll-call votes, committee-hearing
witnesses, and issue salience.

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