On August 16, 2012, the CFTC proposed rules that would permit affiliated swap counterparties to elect an exemption from mandatory swaps clearing, subject to various conditions. These conditions include reporting, documentation, risk management and other obligations, and, for swaps between financial entities, a requirement to provide variation margin. 
The Commodity Exchange Act requires swaps that have been designated by the CFTC as subject to mandatory clearing to be submitted for clearing to a designated clearing organization – unless a counterparty qualifies for an exemption from the clearing requirement. In proposing the inter-affiliate exemption from the clearing requirement, the CFTC recognized the risk management benefits and efficiencies that uncleared inter-affiliate swaps may provide for large financial and other organizations, but also noted its concerns about the “systemic risk repercussions” of uncleared inter-affiliate swaps. These concerns are reflected in the proposed conditions that would apply to affiliated counterparties seeking to rely on the exemption.
The CFTC’s proposed requirements for the use of the exemption are highly controversial. In particular, CFTC Commissioners Sommers and O’Malia voted against releasing the proposal because, in their view, the variation margin requirement is unwarranted. The comment period for the proposed rules will end 30 days after publication of the proposal in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur shortly.