Just one day in advance of the December 21, 2013 expiration of the CFTC’s exemptive order delaying the applicability of some CFTC swap regulations for non-U.S. swap dealers and foreign branches of U.S. swap dealers, the CFTC approved a series of comparability determinations. These comparability determinations will allow CFTC-registered non-U.S. swap dealers and foreign branches of U.S. swap dealers to comply with local requirements rather than the corresponding CFTC rules in cases where substituted compliance is available under the CFTC’s cross-border guidance.  The CFTC made comparability determinations for some swap dealer entity-level requirements for Australia, Canada, the European Union (the “EU”), Hong Kong, Japan and Switzerland and for a limited number of transaction-level requirements for the EU and Japan.
Posts Tagged ‘Annette Nazareth’
These Davis Polk flowcharts are designed to assist banking entities in identifying permissible and impermissible covered fund activities, investments and relationships under the final regulations implementing the Volcker Rule, issued by the Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, SEC and CFTC on December 10, 2013.
The flowcharts graphically map the key elements of the covered fund provisions in the final regulations. An introduction to the new covered funds compliance requirements will also be available soon as a standalone module and in a single combined document.
These Davis Polk flowcharts are designed to assist banking entities in identifying permissible and impermissible proprietary trading activities under the final regulations implementing the Volcker Rule, issued by the Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, SEC and CFTC on December 10, 2013. An introduction to the new compliance requirements is also included.
To make our summary and analysis of the final rules more user-friendly, these flowcharts graphically map the key restrictions on covered trading activities in lieu of a traditional law firm memo.
On November 5, 2013, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed rules to establish new position limits that would apply to 28 agricultural, energy and metals futures contracts, and swaps, futures and options that are economically equivalent to those contracts.  Once adopted, the proposal would reinstate, with certain changes, the position limit rules that were vacated by a U.S. federal court in 2012 (the “Vacated Rules”).  The CFTC also re-proposed aggregation standards that are similar to those initially proposed as amendments to the Vacated Rules, but with a few notable differences, to be used in applying position limits (the “Aggregation Proposal”). 
The proposals would:
On October 14, 2013, FINRA issued a Report on Conflicts of Interest. The report summarizes FINRA’s observations following an initiative, launched in July 2012, to review conflict management policies and procedures at a number of broker-dealer firms. The report focuses on approaches to identifying and managing conflicts of interest in three broad areas: enterprise-level conflicts governance frameworks; new product conflicts reviews; and compensation practices.
While the report does not break new ground or create or alter legal or regulatory requirements, it offers insight into the approach that FINRA expects firms to take in implementing a robust conflict management framework. In particular, the report identifies effective practices that FINRA observed at various firms. Broker-dealers should use this report as a basis for reviewing and potentially strengthening their policies and procedures relating to managing conflicts of interests.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“BCBS”) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (“IOSCO”) on September 2 released their final policy framework on margin requirements for uncleared derivatives (the “Framework”). The Framework, which follows two proposals on the topic from BCBS and IOSCO (the “Proposals”), is intended to establish minimum standards for uncleared derivatives margin rules in the jurisdictions of BCBS and IOSCO’s members, which includes the United States.
The Framework is designed to provide guidance to national regulators in implementing G-20 commitments for uncleared derivatives margin requirements. In the United States, the Dodd-Frank Act, reflecting the same G-20 commitments, requires the SEC, CFTC and banking regulators to adopt initial and variation margin requirements for swap dealers and major swap participants (“MSPs”) under their supervision.  The U.S. regulators have proposed rules to implement these requirements (the “U.S. Proposals”), but have not yet adopted final rules, in part due to the ongoing BCBS/IOSCO efforts. The Framework is similar in concept to the U.S. Proposals, but differs in a number of significant respects. Appendix A summarizes the Framework and the three U.S. Proposals, highlighting a number of the key differences.
With the Framework finalized, we expect that U.S. regulators will work to issue final rules implementing uncleared swap margin requirements in the coming months.
As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the over-the-counter derivatives markets have become subject to significant new regulatory oversight. As the markets respond to these new regulations, the menu of derivatives instruments available to asset managers, and the costs associated with those instruments, will change significantly. As the first new swap rules have come into effect in the past several months, market participants have started to identify risks and costs, as well as new opportunities, arising from this new regulatory landscape.
This memorandum and the accompanying timeline is designed to provide asset managers, and those interested in the activities of asset managers, with background information on key aspects of the swap regulatory regime that may impact their derivatives trading activities. The memorandum highlights practical considerations and potential opportunities for asset managers, as they assess the impact these regulations will have on their trading activities.
In the short term, asset managers should be sure to:
The OCC has published long-awaited guidance notifying federally-chartered insured depository institutions (“IDIs”) that it is prepared to grant applications to delay compliance with Section 716 of the Dodd-Frank Act (the “Swaps Pushout Rule”) for up to two years.  The Swaps Pushout Rule will become effective on July 16, 2013. A federally-chartered IDI  must submit a formal request for a transition period to the OCC by January 31, 2013. The content of such requests is discussed further below.
We believe that the Federal Reserve and the FDIC will issue similar guidance to state-chartered IDIs subject to their primary supervision. But it remains to be seen whether such guidance will address the application of the Swaps Pushout Rule to uninsured U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks.
On November 16, 2012, the Secretary of the Treasury issued a much awaited determination that foreign exchange (“FX”) swaps and FX forwards should not be regulated as swaps under the Commodity Exchange Act for most purposes, including registration, mandatory clearing and trade execution, and margin. As was the case in the proposed determination, FX derivatives other than FX swaps and forwards, such as FX options, currency swaps and non-deliverable forwards, are not covered by the exemption and would be regulated as swaps.
FX swaps and forwards will be subject to swap data repository trade reporting requirements applicable to swaps and to historical swaps. They will not be subject to “real-time” trade reporting requirements, however. Furthermore, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s enhanced anti-evasion authority will apply to FX swaps and forwards. In addition, swap dealers and major swap participants transacting in FX swaps and forwards must comply with “business conduct standards” contained in Section 4s(h) of the Commodity Exchange Act and implementing regulations.  These include the external business conduct rules, which impose on swap dealers and major swap participants various due diligence, fair dealing and disclosure obligations, certain heightened obligations when dealing with “special entities” and, in the case of swap dealers recommending swaps or swap trading strategies, suitability obligations. They also include the CFTC’s internal business conduct rules relating to diligent supervision. Finally, in discussing enhanced business conduct standards applicable to FX swaps and forwards, the final determination cites to the CFTC’s recently finalized rules on swap confirmation, portfolio reconciliation, portfolio compression and trading relationship documentation, which were adopted in part pursuant to Section 4s(h).
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.