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.
Continue Reading FDIC Approves Amendments to the Volcker Rule

On July 23, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published a revised framework for mandatory initial margin applicable to swaps that are not cleared with a central clearing party. The key revision was the insertion of an additional year into the implementation schedule for the margin rules.
Continue Reading Delay of Final Implementation of Swap Initial Margin Rules

On July 8, the staff of the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued a report containing data and analysis concerning possible exclusions from the calculation of the swap dealer de minimis registration threshold for swaps executed on a regulated exchange and/or cleared by a derivatives clearing organization.
Continue Reading CFTC Report Concerning On-Venue and Cleared Swaps

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 SEC Adopts Additional Rules for Security-Based Swaps

On June 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a package of new rules and rule amendments to establish capital, margin and segregation requirements under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The new rules address the following areas:

  • Capital requirements for security-based swap dealers (SBSDs) and major security-based swap participants (MSBSP), for which there is not a prudential regulator (nonbank SBSDs and MSBSPs).
  • Capital requirements for broker-dealers that trade security-based swaps or swaps and are not registered as an SBSD or MSBSP.
  • Minimum net capital requirements for broker-dealers that use internal models to compute net capital.
  • Margin requirements for nonbank SBSDs and MSBSPs with respect to non-cleared security-based swaps.
  • Segregation requirements for SBSDs and stand-alone broker-dealers for cleared and non-cleared security-based swaps.


Continue Reading SEC Adopts Capital, Margin and Segregation Requirements for Security-Based Swap Dealers and Major Participants

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 ISDA Publishes Initial Margin Implementation Guidance for Financial End Users

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 CFTC Issues Margin Relief for Changes to Legacy Swaps

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 CFTC Chair Proposes Relief for Phase 5 Initial Margin Implementation

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that it had at last adopted final rules to implement Section 14(j) (Disclosure of Hedging by Employees and Directors) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which was enacted in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. New Item 407(i) of Regulation S-K will require a company to describe any practices or policies it has adopted regarding the ability of employees (including officers) or directors, or their designees, to purchase financial instruments, or otherwise engage in transactions, that hedge or offset, or are designed to hedge or offset, any decrease in the market value of equity securities of the company held directly or indirectly by employees or directors, including company equity securities granted as compensation. This disclosure will be required in proxy or information statements relating to the election of directors. The final rules specify that the disclosure requirement will apply to equity securities of the company, its parents, its subsidiaries and subsidiaries of the company’s parents, but do not define the term “designee” (instead requiring a facts and circumstances analysis).
Continue Reading SEC Adopts Final Rules for Disclosure of Hedging Policies

On December 19, the US Securities and Exchange Commission voted to issue proposed rules that would require the mandatory use of certain risk mitigation techniques by security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants (collectively, SBS Entities). Under the proposed rules, SBS Entities will be required to:

  • Reconcile outstanding security-based swaps with applicable counterparties on a periodic basis;
  • Engage in certain forms of portfolio compression exercises, as appropriate; and
  • Execute written security-based swap trading relationship documentation with each of its counterparties prior to, or contemporaneously with, executing a security-based swap transaction.


Continue Reading SEC Proposes Risk Mitigation Rules for Uncleared Security-Based Swaps