Commissioner Mark Wetjen of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission met with students for bagels and coffee this morning to discuss his career in public service. The CFTC is a federal agency that “polices the derivatives markets for various abuses and works to ensure the protection of customer funds.”

Wetjen, an Iowa Law graduate, serves as one of five CFTC commissioners. President Obama nominated him to a five-year term in March 2011, a nomination the U.S. Senate confirmed unanimously in October 2011. Prior to becoming a CFTC commissioner, Wetjen was a senior U.S. Senate staffer, advising Senator Harry Reid and the democratic caucus on financial services matters.

During the breakfast meeting Wetjen spoke about the CFTC’s implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, a bill he helped to pass while working in the Senate. Wetjen noted that over the past three years the CFTC has promulgated nearly 50 new rules for derivatives markets and described how the CFTC is now working with European countries to harmonize derivatives regulation internationally. Wetjen explained how his policy negotiating experience in the Senate has influenced his approach to working with both his fellow commissioners and his European counterparts.

Wetjen also answered questions about his professional path from Iowa Law to private practice to the Senate to the CFTC. He observed that, while advice like “follow your instincts,” “remain flexible,” and “find what you’re passionate about” might seem trite, those same principles have guided him toward an interesting, satisfying career.

In addition to the breakfast meeting, Wetjen also met with students for one-on-one meetings. “Commissioner Wetjen seemed really interested in helping Iowa Law students, which was great.  I really enjoyed learning about his experience in D.C. both in the Senate and as Commissioner, especially the work he did negotiating with the European Union,” said Sara Gardner, a 3L who attended the breakfast and also met individually with Wetjen.  

“We are fortunate here at Iowa Law to have so many outstanding alumni who are committed to serving as resources for our students. We are so very grateful to Mark for sharing his time and his insight.” added Christine Ralston, a Career Advisor in the Career Services Office who helped organize Wetjen’s visit.

--Jay Stirling | August 29, 2014