The Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued an advisory clarifying that the initial margin documentation requirement for swap dealers does not apply until the initial margin amount exceeds the regulatory posting threshold of $50 million (which is measured on a group basis). More specifically, DSIO’s

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued an order granting registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) to Eris Clearing, LLC. The order permits Eris Clearing to clear fully collateralized virtual currency futures contracts. These contracts will be listed for trading on Eris Clearing’s affiliate, Eris Exchange, LLC.
Continue Reading

On June 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a panoply of final rules dealing with the following aspects of the regulation of security-based swaps (SBS):

  • Capital requirements for nonbank SBS Dealers (SBSDs) and Major SBS Participants (MSBSPs).
  • Increased minimum net capital requirements for broker-dealers that use internal models to compute net capital (ANC broker-dealers).
  • Capital requirements tailored to security-based swaps and swaps for broker-dealers that are not registered as an SBSD or MSBSP to the extent they trade those instruments.
  • Margin requirements for nonbank SBSDs and MSBSPs with respect to non-cleared security-based swaps.
  • Creation of a process for non-US SBSDs and MSBSPs to request substituted compliance with respect to the capital and margin requirements.
  • A requirement that nonbank SBSDs establish internal risk management controls compliant with Rule 15c3-4.

Continue Reading

On June 27, 2019, the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued a no-action relief (No Action Letter) for registered floor traders from compliance with certain conditions of a CFTC regulation related to the de minimis exception to the swap dealer definition.

Under paragraph (6)(iv) of the swap dealer definition in CFTC regulation 1.3, a registered floor trader does not need to consider cleared swaps executed on or subject to the rules of a designated contract market (DCM) or swap execution facility (SEF Cleared Swaps) when determining whether it is a swap dealer, provided certain conditions are satisfied. The No Action Letter clarifies that the exemption is available even if the registered floor trader: (1) enters into swaps other than DCM and SEF Cleared Swaps; and (2) directly, or through an affiliated person, negotiates the terms of those other swaps. The No Action Letter also removes the condition that a registered floor trader must submit periodic risk reports as required by CFTC regulation 23.600(c)(2).

Continue Reading

On May 29, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) issued calculation guidance for swap market participants seeking to determine if they might become subject in 2020 to mandatory initial margin requirements for swaps executed with swap dealers registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Under both the CFTC margin rules and the margin rules adopted by the prudential regulators for bank swap dealers, any “financial end user” (as defined in the margin rules) that is not already subject to mandatory initial margin for trades with swap dealers will become so on September 1, 2020, if it has “material swaps exposure.” An entity will have “material swaps exposure” for 2020 if the entity and its margin affiliates have a daily average aggregate notional amount (DAANA) of uncleared swaps, uncleared security-based swaps, foreign exchange forwards and foreign exchange swaps with all counterparties for June, July and August of this year that exceeds $8 billion, where such amount is calculated only for business days.
Continue Reading

On June 6, the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued no action letter 19-13 to permit swap dealers and their counterparties to make certain changes to current swaps without subjecting the swaps to the CFTC swap margin rule. The need for the relief stems from the anti-avoidance position taken by the CFTC when the swap margin rule was enacted that any change made after the margin rule compliance date applicable to swap dealer and its counterparty to an uncleared swap (a Legacy Swap) in existence on the compliance date will cause the Legacy Swap to be brought into scope for margin.

Continue Reading

On April 29, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Chris Giancarlo sent a letter to Randy Quarles, the Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in which he proposed that the US regulators responsible for the administering the margin rules for uncleared swaps should collaborate in providing some relief to non-dealer swap market participants who may become subject to initial margin requirements in 2020. The specific relief would be the issuance of the same guidance issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in March (for more information, see the March 8, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest), which stated that in-scope parties do not have to put in place compliant documentation and custodial relationships if there is no expectation that the exposure associated with their swaps will actually exceed the regulatory threshold for posting initial margin ($50 million for the United States).
Continue Reading

Although the pending reforms to the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), commonly referred to as EMIR REFIT, have not yet gone into effect, US and other non-EU managers of non-EU alternative investment funds (AIFs) should start determining now whether they will be affected, and, if so, commence preparations for compliance. Any non-EU AIF that is