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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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).


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On February 12, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced 2019 Examination Priorities (the “Examination Priorities”) for registrants of the Division of Market Oversight (DMO), Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO), and Division of Clearing & Risk (DCR). This marks the first time that the agency has published Examination Priorities for its divisions.
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On November 5, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission held an open meeting to consider the following matters relating to swaps and swap execution facilities:

  • Final Rule: Amending the De Minimis Exception to the Swap Dealer Definition
  • Proposed Rule: Amendments to Regulations on Swap Execution Facilities and Trade Execution Requirement
  • Request for Comment Regarding the Practice of “Post-Trade Name Give-Up” on Swap Execution Facilities


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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is proposing to amend its position limits rules for security futures products (SFPs) to provide exchanges that list SFPs with greater discretion in setting limit levels, allowing the exchanges to provide a more effective risk management tool.

Specifically, the proposed CFTC amendment would: (1) increase the default level of equity SFP position limits to 25,000 (100-share) contracts, from 13,500 (100-share) contracts; and (2) modify the criteria for setting a higher level of position limits and position accountability levels.
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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.
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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has released the agenda for the Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) public meeting that will be held on January 31.

The public meeting will feature four different panels, in addition to opening remarks from Rostin Behnam, MRAC Sponsor and Commissioner; J. Christopher Giancarlo, CFTC Chairman; and Brian D. Quintenz, a CFTC Commissioner.
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On December 4, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a report of the results of its Division of Market Oversight’s (Division) Rule Enforcement Review of the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Commodity Exchange, Inc. and New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (collectively the CME Group).
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As contemplated by announcements last month, the European Commission (EC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) took action this week to implement mutual recognition of derivatives trading venues in advance of the January 3, 2018 compliance date for the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) requirement that the most liquid derivative instruments that are subject to mandatory clearing must be traded on regulated trading venues.
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On October 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the European Commission (EC) made three announcements that are significant for cross-border swap activity between the United States and Europe.

  1. CFTC Margin Rule Comparability Determination.

The CFTC has made a determination that the margin rules for uncleared swaps that apply in the European Union are comparable to the CFTC’s margin rules. This determination activates the substituted compliance provisions found in Section 23.160(b)(2)(iii) of the CFTC margin rules that until now have not been available to EU entities registered as swap dealers.
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