On September 10, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the early expiration of its Tick Size Pilot Program. Under the program, the minimum quoting and trading increments (tick sizes) for stocks of certain smaller companies was widened. The program was intended to expire on October 2. However, due to concerns relating to a mid-week shifting

On August 8, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that it has proposed rules pursuant to which a clearing organization located outside of the United States may obtain an exemption from registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) in order to provide swaps clearing services to certain US persons. The proposed rules codify the CFTC’s existing policies and procedures for granting such exemptions. To date, the CFTC has exempted four non-US clearing organizations from registration: ASX Clear (Futures) Pty Limited, Japan Securities Clearing Corporation, Korea Exchange, Inc., and OTC Clearing Hong Kong.
Continue Reading CFTC Proposes Rules to Simplify Process for Foreign Clearing Organizations to Obtain DCO Registration Exemptions

On August 9, the National Futures Association (NFA) announced the effective date of its recently adopted Interpretive Notice, Disclosure Requirements for NFA Members Engaging in Virtual Currency Activities. The Interpretative Notice will go into effect on October 31 (“Effective Date”).
Continue Reading NFA Announces the Effective Date of Disclosure Requirements for NFA Members Engaging in Virtual Currency Activities

On May 17, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a proposed rule to amend the CFTC’s margin requirements for uncleared swaps for swap dealers and major swap participants. The proposed rule amendments are intended to make the same changes to the CFTC margin requirements that federal banking regulators recently proposed for the margin rules for swap dealers that are subject to prudential regulation (for more information, please see the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest edition of February 12, 2018). The proposed rule will ensure that master netting agreements of firms subject to the CFTC margin requirements are not excluded from the definition of “eligible master netting agreement” merely because they comply with recent regulatory changes to the treatment of qualified financial contracts executed with banks (“QFC Rules”).
Continue Reading CFTC Issues Proposed Rule to Amend Margin Requirements

On May 21, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a staff advisory that provides guidance to designated contract markets (DCMs) and swap execution facilities (SEFs) that plan to list virtual currency derivatives for trading and clearing organizations (DCOs) intending to clear virtual currency derivatives. The advisory notes that the CFTC’s recommendations are informed by the unique characteristics of virtual currencies that make obtaining information about the spot market difficult, including the fact that the commercial uses for virtual currencies are less developed than the commercial uses of other products underlying derivatives, and there is less price verification. The advisory addresses the need for enhanced market surveillance, coordination and communication with CFTC staff, large trading reporting, outreach to relevant stakeholders and risk management of DCOs.
Continue Reading CFTC Issues Virtual Currency Advisory for Exchanges and Clearinghouses

On May 15, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued an order granting Australian Securities Exchange Limited (ASX24) registration as a foreign board of trade (FBOT). As a registered FBOT, ASX24 is authorized to permit members and other exchange participants to trade directly on its platform without having to trade through an intermediary. With this order,

On May 21, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that it had signed a mutual cooperation agreement with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to promote information sharing between the CFTC and state securities regulators. The agreement is designed to assist in the enforcement of the Commodity Exchange Act, which state securities regulators and

On March 7, the Securities and Exchange Commission released an advisory regarding platforms used to trade digital assets. The SEC expressed concern that, in light of the rise in popularity of trading digital assets, including coins and tokens in initial coin offerings, investors could mistakenly believe that platforms used to trade such assets are registered with the SEC or are otherwise regulated.  In order to protect investors, the SEC indicated that it plans to focus on such platforms and their compliance with federal securities laws.
Continue Reading SEC Releases Statement on Platforms Trading Digital Assets

On March 7, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority published Regulatory Notice 18-09, which expands the criteria FINRA will use to designate member firms that must participate in business continuity and disaster recovery testing (BC/DR testing). Regulation SCI requires FINRA to designate firms that must participate in BC/DR testing.  Regulatory Notice 18-09 indicates that the following

On January 8, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its annual Regulatory and Examination Priority Letter detailing various issues that will be the subject of particular regulatory focus and scrutiny this year. Many of the areas noted are carry-overs from previous years, including the protection of senior investors and other retail customers, new product suitability reviews, and enhanced scrutiny of high-risk brokers. However, the letter also reflects various new issues that have caught FINRA’s attention and will require increased attention by FINRA member firms.
Continue Reading FINRA Releases 2018 Regulatory and Examination Priority Letter