On August 20, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved their version of a set of amendments intended to simplify some of the requirements of the regulations implementing Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (the “Volcker Rule”), which was enacted as Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Volcker Rule generally prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning or controlling hedge funds or private equity funds subject to numerous qualifications and exemptions set forth in the Volcker Rule regulations, which are identical sets of rules adopted by each of the Volcker Rule regulators (the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission). These final amendments incorporate the responses of the Volcker Rule regulators to the numerous comments they received when they initially proposed a set of amendments in 2018.
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On August 1, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued a letter extending prior no-action relief, which suspended the need for certain persons otherwise required to aggregate positions to proactively file formal written notice for position limits purposes. The prior relief, CFTC No Action Letter 17-37, was set to expire on August 12, 2019.
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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has published for comment two proposals intended to reduce the regulatory obligations that certain non-US clearing organizations would otherwise be subject. In accordance with section 5b(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), it is unlawful for any clearing organization to clear swaps on behalf of US persons unless that clearing organization is registered with the CFTC as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO). However, CEA section 5b(h) authorizes the CFTC to exempt from registration any non-US clearing organization that is “subject to comparable, comprehensive supervision and regulation” by its home country regulator. In the exercise of this latter authority, the CFTC has proposed to permit those non-US clearing organizations that the CFTC determines do not pose a substantial risk to the US financial system to elect either 1) registration as a DCO with alternative compliance obligations; or 2) an exemption from registration altogether.
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On July 22, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in conjunction with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), issued interpretative guidance to introducing brokers in commodities (IBs) that do not introduce customers to a futures commission merchant (FCM) that carries their customers’ accounts.
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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight and Division of Clearing and Risk have issued CFTC Staff Advisory 19-17 (the Advisory), providing 1) guidance with respect to CFTC Rule 1.56(b); and 2) time-limited no-action relief with respect to CFTC Rule 39.13(g)(8)(iii), as those rules relate to the treatment of separate accounts of the same customer (i.e., beneficial owner). The Advisory responds to several requests for guidance following the publication of Joint Audit Committee (JAC) Regulatory Alerts #19-02 and #19-03.
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