On January 10, the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued time-limited relief to a registered futures commission merchant (FCM) with respect to certain of the requirements in CFTC Regulation 30.7 relating to the foreign futures and foreign options secured amount. Amendments to CFTC Regulation 30.7(c), which became effective on January 13, require an FCM to deposit 30.7 (“secured amount”) customer funds under the laws and regulations of the foreign jurisdiction that provide the greatest degree of protection to such funds. Funds deposited by the FCM for its foreign futures customer omnibus accounts with the FCM’s bank affiliates in London and Hong Kong are presently treated as deposits under their respective jurisdiction’s “bank exemptions,” rather than the applicable jurisdiction’s client money rules.

Without taking a position on whether funds held pursuant to the “bank exemption” would be consistent with Rule 30.7(c), DSIO granted the FCM relief from the requirements of Regulation 30.7(c) to provide the FCM with sufficient time to complete an assessment of whether the client money rules of London and Hong Kong provide a higher degree of protection for 30.7 customer funds relative to the jurisdiction’s “bank exemptions.” The relief is contingent on the FCM at all times holding in properly designated 30.7 accounts in US depositories: (i) money and securities equal to or greater than the funds held in the London and Hong Kong omnibus accounts that are subject to “bank exemptions,” and (ii) additional money and securities required to constitute the FCM’s targeted residual financial interest in the 30.7 accounts. The FCM must report the result of its assessment to the DSIO by May 12, 2014; the relief will expire on September 10, 2014.  

CFTC Letter No. 14-08 is available here.