Shearman & Sterling LLP updates

SEC finalises capital, margin and segregation requirements
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 13 November 2019

As a further step towards the implementation of its security-based swap regime, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has adopted a number of long-awaited capital, margin and segregation requirements for security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants. The SEC's final rules address one of the key remaining questions required to implement the security-based swap regime: which capital and margin requirements will apply to non-bank dealers?

SEC proposes modifications to cross-border application of security-based swaps regime
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 04 September 2019

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to take steps towards the implementation of its security-based swap (SBS) dealer registration framework. In a recent proposal, the SEC has sought to address certain questions as to the cross-border implementation of its SBS regime and, in some cases, to further harmonise its regulations with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's swaps regulatory framework.

CFTC proposes amendments to DCO core principle regulations
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 10 July 2019

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has proposed a series of changes to its general regulations governing derivatives clearing organisations (DCOs). While the proposed amendments intend to (among other things) enhance certain risk management and reporting obligations, many of them would require significant changes to current practice and impose new obligations on DCOs and their clearing members.

CFTC proposes updated swap data reporting regulations
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 19 June 2019

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has proposed the first instalment of a series of amendments to its rules relating to swap data repositories and the reporting of swap data. The proposed amendments, which would affect Parts 23, 43, 45 and 49 of the CFTC's regulations, implement the CFTC's Roadmap to Achieve High Quality Swaps Data and are intended to improve the quality and accuracy of data available to the CFTC and the public and to streamline data reporting.

ISDA proposes amendments to 2014 Credit Derivatives Definitions relating to narrowly tailored credit events
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 17 April 2019

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association recently published proposed amendments to its 2014 Credit Derivatives Definitions relating to narrowly tailored credit events. The proposal comes in the wake of concerns raised by market participants over certain failure to pay credit events, or claimed failure to pay credit events – in particular, the 2017 agreement by Hovnanian Enterprises to default on an interest payment to an affiliate in order to obtain favourable refinancing terms from GSO Partners.

CFTC divisions outline examination priorities for 2019
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 27 February 2019

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently published the 2019 examination priorities for its three divisions. This marks the first time that the agency has published its divisions' examination priorities, which serves as part of the CFTC's efforts to advance its Project KISS (which stands for 'Keep It Simple, Stupid') initiative and demonstrates areas that the divisions view as particularly important to self-regulation in US derivatives markets for the coming year.

CFTC considers revamp of SEF regulatory framework
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 13 February 2019

Towards the end of 2018, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) proposed significant revisions to the framework governing swap trading through swap execution facilities and designated contract markets. Many of these amendments are in line with recommendations contained in CFTC Chair J Christopher Giancarlo's white paper on swaps regulation reform. The proposed changes are intended to reflect developments in the swaps markets since the CFTC's implementation of its current regulations.

CFTC chair authors white paper on cross-border swaps regulation reform
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 24 October 2018

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair J Christopher Giancarlo recently released a white paper recommending potential reforms to the agency's approach to the extra-territorial, or cross-border, application of its swaps trading rules. According to Giancarlo, the reforms are intended to create a territorial, risk-based approach that relies on greater deference to regulators in jurisdictions with comparable regulatory frameworks (comparable jurisdictions), where appropriate.

NFA adopts disclosure requirements for members engaging in virtual currency activities
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 12 September 2018

The National Futures Association (NFA) recently adopted an interpretive notice that requires futures commission merchants, introducing brokers, commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisers to disclose to customers certain potential risks involved when dealing with virtual currencies and virtual currency derivatives. The notice reflects the NFA's concern that, among other things, customers may not fully understand the nature of these products or the losses that could be sustained.

CFTC proposes amendments to margin segregation requirements for swap dealers and major swap participants
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 22 August 2018

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently proposed amendments to certain requirements for swap dealers and major swap participants to notify counterparties of their right to segregate initial margin for uncleared swaps. The proposal addresses several concerns previously raised by market participants about the existing rules, including through the CFTC's Project KISS initiative, which was intended to lift unnecessary regulatory burdens and reduce costs for market participants.

CFTC chair outlines further steps to swaps trading rules reform
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 16 May 2018

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair J Christopher Giancarlo and Chief Economist Bruce Tuckman recently published a white paper on potential reforms to the CFTC's swaps trading rules. The white paper proposes a series of changes to rules relating to transactions on swap execution facilities. Accompanying statements note that commission staff is expected to propose a formal rulemaking in this area in Summer 2018.

Federal court upholds that virtual currencies are commodities
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 11 April 2018

The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently confirmed that virtual currencies are a commodity within the anti-fraud jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The ruling marks the first time that a federal court has affirmed the CFTC's 2015 determination that virtual currencies are 'commodities' as defined by the act. This provides the CFTC with further standing to police fraud in virtual currency spot markets.

Gemini co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss propose virtual commodity self-regulatory organisation
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 11 April 2018

Virtual currency exchange Gemini recently released a proposal to create the first self-regulatory organisation for US virtual currency exchanges. The so-called 'Virtual Commodity Association' (VCA), as envisioned, would be a non-profit, independent regulatory organisation that would operate to foster responsible virtual commodity markets. The VCA would also encourage greater cooperation with relevant regulators in an effort to assist with the maturation of the virtual commodity industry.

US derivatives regulation: a pause in 2017, and a look ahead to 2018
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 31 January 2018

Although changes in the regulatory landscape were limited in 2017, several steps, including the Capital Markets Report and Project KISS, may lay the groundwork for more significant developments to come, particularly now that regulatory agencies have new leadership and senior staff and have had an opportunity to review market participant feedback. There also remain a number of outstanding issues and emerging issues that are likely to demand regulatory attention in the coming year.

Second Treasury report issued: implications for derivatives market
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 06 December 2017

The US Department of the Treasury recently released its second in a series of four reports evaluating the US financial regulatory system. As it relates to the derivatives markets, the report does not advocate fundamental changes in the regulatory framework but suggests a change in regulatory emphasis. Further, it makes a series of specific recommendations that would broadly make incremental improvements suggested by market participants.

Final rule issued on qualified financial contracts: what you need to know
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 08 November 2017

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System recently adopted a final rule requiring US global systemically important banking institutions (GSIBs), their subsidiaries and the US operations of foreign GSIBs (covered entities) to amend many of their qualified financial contracts in order to restrict their counterparties' ability to immediately terminate such contracts in the event that the covered entity or an affiliate enters into bankruptcy or resolution proceedings.

CFTC extends and revises relief for position aggregation requirements and notice filings
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 20 September 2017

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has extended and revised no-action relief that provides an exemption from compliance with certain aggregation requirements for CFTC-specified position limits for futures and option trading. CFTC staff have indicated that they may consider further modifications to these requirements during the term of the relief.

Regulators issue guidance on non-compliance with impending variation margin requirements
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 29 March 2017

The US prudential regulators – including the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions – recently issued guidance as to the implementation of variation margin requirements on uncleared swaps. The guidance indicates how the respective supervisory authorities and regulators will approach compliance with the variation margin requirements.

CFTC provides time-limited no-action relief for aggregation notice filings for position limits
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 29 March 2017

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Division of Market Oversight (DMO) recently issued a time-limited no-action letter stating that, from February 2017 to August 2017, it will not recommend an enforcement action for failure to file a notice when relying on certain aggregation exemptions from federal position limit levels. The DMO also announced the availability of a portal that provides the form and manner for filing aggregation exemption notices.

SEC extends interim final rules granting exemptions for security-based swaps
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • 15 March 2017

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently adopted amendments to the expiration dates in its interim final rules that provided exemptions for certain security-based swaps. The SEC noted that the extension has been granted to avoid disruption in the security-based swaps market while it continues to consider the impact of Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act and whether regulatory action is appropriate.

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