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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On June 25, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission published for comment a proposed amendment to CFTC Regulation 30.10. Part 30 of the CFTC’s regulations govern the offer and sale of foreign futures and options to customers located in the United States. Among other requirements, Regulation 30.4 requires any person that solicits or accepts orders for execution on a foreign board of trade and that, in connection therewith, accepts any money or securities to margin any resulting contracts, to be registered with the CFTC as a futures commission merchant (FCM). Regulation 30.10 authorizes the CFTC to exempt from registration as an FCM any person located outside of the U.S. that the CFTC finds is subject to a comparable regulatory structure in the jurisdiction in which it is located. Requests for exemption are generally filed by a non-U.S. regulatory authority or self-regulatory organization on behalf of their registrants.
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On May 21, the National Futures Association (NFA) submitted to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed amendments to NFA Bylaw 1301 regarding the schedule of dues and assessments for swaps firms. NFA Bylaw 1301 imposes dues and assessments on futures commission merchants (FCM) (for which NFA is the designated self-regulatory organization (DSRO)), introducing brokers (IB), commodity pool operators (CPO) and commodity trading advisor (CTA) Members that are approved swaps firms under Bylaw 301(l).
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On May 14, the Joint Audit Committee (JAC), a representative committee of US futures exchanges and the National Futures Association (NFA), released two regulatory alerts of particular importance to futures commission merchants (FCMs) that clear for customers whose accounts are managed by third-party advisers. The regulatory alerts “reconfirm and reiterate” the JAC’s view of existing law regarding guarantees against loss and margin in the context of multiple accounts of a single beneficial owner at an FCM, which accounts are managed by different advisers and/or traded pursuant to different programs of the same adviser.
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On March 28, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that it has unanimously approved two final rule amendments designed to ease registrants’ regulatory burdens. Both final rule proposals originated from the CFTC’s Project KISS Initiative, which is intended to simplify and reduce burdens by revisiting our rules based on staff implementation experience and public comment. The two rule amendments will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and are detailed below:
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On March 12, the National Futures Association (NFA) published Notice I-19-08, notifying Member futures commission merchants (FCMs) and introducing brokers (IBs) of a March 8 advisory published by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regarding updates to the Financial Action Task Force’s list of jurisdictions with deficiencies regarding anti-money laundering and combating the financing of

On March 5, the National Futures Association (NFA) submitted with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed amendments to NFA Bylaw 301 and Compliance Rule 2-24. The proposed changes to NFA Bylaw 301(l) are intended to specify that any individual applying for approval as a futures commission merchant (FCM), introducing broker (IB), commodity pool operator (CPO) or commodity trading advisor (CTA) member swap firm or swap associated person of an FCM, IB, CPO or CTA must take and pass the NFA’s Swap Proficiency Requirements to be granted approval as a swap firm or swap associated person (AP). In connection with this change, the NFA also proposed amendments to Compliance Rule 2-24 which, among other changes, would prohibit an FCM, IB, CPO or CTA member from having associated with it an individual engaged in CFTC regulated swap activities, unless such individual has satisfied the aforementioned requirements.
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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 December 20, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Clearing and Risk (DCR) and Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) issued several staff letters related to Eurex Clearing AG (Eurex) for the purpose of (1) authorizing Eurex to clear and settle swaps on behalf of US persons and (2) facilitating such clearing activities on behalf of cleared swaps customers as defined in Part 22 of the CFTC’s regulations. Set forth below is a description of each letter.
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