Independently Incompetent

New York Senator Chuck Schumer demanded on Sunday that the name of the New York Stock Exchange appear first in a possible merger of NYSE Euronext with Germany’s Deutsche Börse. Mr. Schumer says he wants the merger to maintain New York City as the center of world finance.

But if he’s concerned with the reality of keeping financial markets in the U.S.—as opposed to the perception created by a corporate brand—Mr. Schumer should conduct some oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The agency’s pending rules could drive offshore markets that are much more lucrative than the trading of stocks.

CFTC chairman Gary Gensler is ostensibly seeking to limit the power of big banks with proposed rules for derivatives-trading venues. Mr. Gensler has pushed for the boards of trading platforms and clearinghouses, which stand behind every trade, to include a majority of independent directors with no ties to these organizations or to the banks that trade through them.

When the CFTC passed a draft rule last year, he lacked the votes to require a majority of independent directors, so he settled for 35%. But as a final vote on the rule approaches, he’s pushing again to raise the percentage to 51. Think of it: By law, these firms would be controlled by people who don’t own them. Mr. Gensler also wants to limit the share of these firms that banks can own.

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