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Steven Manaster, professor and chairman of the department of finance at the University of Utah, has been appointed chief economist for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Manaster will begin an unpaid leave of absence from the U. July 1.

An agency of the federal government, CFTC regulates the trading of commodities futures and options contracts. The commission also investigates fraud charges against commodities dealers and approves all new contracts that exchanges want to trade.As chief economist, Manaster will head the CFTC's Division of Economic Analysis, whose responsibilities and program areas include economic research and market surveillance and analysis of the commodity futures market.

Manaster will be the commission's principal adviser on economic matters with authority to participate fully in the commission's economic policy discussions. Bulk goods, such as grains, metals and foods, are traded on commodities exchanges or on the spot market.

Manaster, who joined the U. faculty in 1983, is a founding trustee and first director of the Garn Institute of Finance in the Graduate School of Business. He previously taught at New York University, University of Chicago, University of Florida and University of Illinois.