Former CFTC chair Heath Tarbert joins Citadel Securities

Former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Heath Tarbert, who left the CFTC in March, will be joining Citadel Securities as its chief legal officer on April 5. Bloomberg broke the news on April 1. 

During his time as chair, Tarbert became a familiar name within the crypto industry. Under his watch, the commission began work on a holistic framework for the crypto industry. Tarbert also played a critical role in determining that Ether is a commodity rather than a security in the US. 

Citadel Securities, meanwhile, is one of the largest market makers in the world. The firm traditionally keeps a low profile relative to its size but recently drew pressure from regulators over its relationship with stock trading app Robinhood. 

Robinhood itself came into the spotlight earlier this year after it temporarily halted trading of shares of video game seller GameStop and other stocks. That action came after retail investors, in an effort coordinated on Reddit, drove up the price of GameStop shares.  

Congressional scrutiny of the episode reached Citadel Securities for its practice of paying Robinhood for directing customer trades to it. Its sister firm, the hedge fund Citadel, also drew scrutiny thanks to its massive stake in Melvin Capital, which was the hedge fund whose large short position on GameStop had attracted the attention of an army of Redditors. 

Before a congressional hearing in February, Robinhood and Citadel argued that the problem was delayed settlement time: T+2, or two days from the trade. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev argued that the solution is real-time settlement, or T+0.