Former CFTC Enforcement Director Discusses Whistleblowers, Trends, the New Administration and the Pandemic (Part Two of Two)

From 2017 to 2020, James McDonald served as Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement (Division), where he had overall responsibility for all aspects of the CFTC’s enforcement program, including its investigations and litigations; market surveillance activity; and whistleblower office. During his time at the CFTC, McDonald was responsible for creating the first task forces within the Division focused on manipulation and spoofing; insider trading; foreign corruption; anti-money laundering and the Bank Secrecy Act; and digital assets. He also coordinated the CFTC’s enforcement activities with the SEC, DOJ and numerous international regulators. In January 2021, McDonald joined Sullivan & Cromwell as a member of the firm’s new securities and commodities investigation and enforcement practice. The Hedge Fund Law Report recently spoke to McDonald in connection with his move. In this second article in our two‑part series, McDonald discusses the CFTC’s whistleblower program; trends and private funds; the new administration; and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The first article explored McDonald’s new position, his experience at the CFTC and the relationship between regulatory agencies. For coverage of a speech McDonald gave while at the CFTC, see “Newly Revealed CFTC Self-Reporting and Cooperation Regime Could Offer Benefits to Fund Managers, or Lead to Increased Enforcement” (Oct. 19, 2017).

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