On January 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Participants Division (MPD) and Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued CFTC Staff Letter No. 21-04 and Letter No. 21-05 (the Staff Letters) to extend, for a limited time, parts of the temporary no-action relief granted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which expired on January 15.
Continue Reading CFTC Staff Provides Limited Continuation of Certain No-Action Relief to Market Participants in Response to COVID-19

On January 19, the National Futures Association (NFA) issued Notice to Members 1-21-03, announcing that remote online testing is now available for futures industry proficiency. The exams include Series 3, Series 30, Series 31, Series 32 and Series 34, which FINRA administers on behalf of NFA. Tests also may continue to be taken at a local test center. The availability of remote online testing has not affected NFA’s Swaps Proficiency Requirements.

Continue Reading Remote Online Testing Available for Candidates Seeking to Take Futures Industry Proficiency Examinations

On January 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Participants Division determined that the National Futures Association’s (NFA) swap dealer capital model requirements and review program are comparable with the CFTC’s swap dealer capital model requirements and review program. As a result, a capital model approved by NFA will be accepted as an alternative means of compliance with CFTC Regulation 23.102.
Continue Reading CFTC Approves NFA’s Swap Dealer Capital Model Review Program

On January 4, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Market Participants Division (MPD) issued Staff Letter 21-02 providing temporary no-action relief to permit futures commission merchants (FCM) to invest customer funds in investments that have adjustable rates of interest that correlate closely with, or are determined solely by reference to, a benchmark of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), recognizing the increasing use of SOFR as an alternative reference rate to LIBOR in financial markets.
Continue Reading CFTC Staff Provides Temporary Relief to Futures Commission Merchants Regarding Certain SOFR-Linked Investments

On January 7, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) announced the signing of an Enhanced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding cooperation and the exchange of information with respect to certain registered derivatives clearing organizations established in the United States that are central counterparties (CCPs) recognized by ESMA under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation.
Continue Reading CFTC and ESMA Sign Enhanced MOU Related to Certain Recognized Central Counterparties

On December 17, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s innovation office, LabCFTC, released a Digital Assets Primer, which provides the public with updated information about emerging concepts in digital assets. The Digital Assets Primer is intended to build on LabCFTC’s 2017 Primer on Virtual Currencies, which focused on virtual currencies, such as bitcoin. Topics covered by

On December 17, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Market Oversight issued CFTC Letter No. 20-45, which extends relief from the trade execution requirement for certain inter-affiliate transactions provided under CFTC Letter No. 17-67 (available here) and prior staff letters. CFTC Letter No. 17-67 provides relief from the trade execution requirement under CFTC Regulation 50.52(a) with regard to swaps that are entered into by eligible affiliate counterparties and cleared, regardless of the affiliates’ ability to claim the inter-affiliate clearing exemption under CFTC Regulation 50.52(b). The no-action relief was set to expire on December 31.
Continue Reading CFTC Extends Temporary No-Action Relief From Trade Execution Requirement for Certain Affiliated Counterparties

On December 8, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approved a final rule amending Part 37 of the CFTC Regulations addressing operational issues facing swap execution facilities (SEF) and their market participants in connection with the CFTC’s regulatory requirements for a SEF’s audit trail data, financial resources, and chief compliance officer (CCO). Specifically, the Final Rule (1) eliminates the requirement for a SEF to capture and retain post-execution allocation information in its audit trail data, (2) applies the existing Core Principle 13 financial resources requirements to SEF operations in a less burdensome manner, and (3) streamlines requirements for the CCO position and allows SEF management to exercise greater discretion in CCO oversight.
Continue Reading CFTC Unanimously Approves Final Rules Related to SEFs and Withdraws Comprehensive Proposals