On October 31st, the CFTC’s Office of the Chief Economist (the “OCE”) issued a report about “Phase 5” of the uncleared margin rules (“UMR”) that are slated to go into effect on September 1, 2020.  The purpose of the report was “to guide regulators in their responses to industry requests for relief” from the scheduled application of Phase 5.

This post will provide an overview of the main conclusions of the report.  Any potential implementation of revisions to the UMR consistent with the conclusions in the report would have the effect of reducing the number of market participants subject to UMR, thereby simplifying compliance processes and burdens on entities that may have otherwise been impacted by the UMR.  It is too early to forecast whether regulators will propose and ultimately implement revisions to the UMR based upon this report.  Although, we believe that its issuance is a noteworthy development.

At the outset, the UMR are complex and their application to any particular trading activities should be undertaken in consultation with counsel familiar with these rules.  This post is not legal advice.


Continue Reading Initial Margin Phase 5: Report from CFTC’s Office of the Chief Economist

This post builds upon an idea presented in Part 4 of current series of posts on considerations for investment funds and advisers related to cryptocurrency derivatives.

In particular, this post provides additional perspectives on the relationship of leverage, margin, and financing to two commodity interests: “retail commodity transactions” and a “swaps”.  We decided to present these comments separate from the current multi-part series on cryptocurrency derivatives, since the topic may appeal to a broader audience than funds and advisers.

This post was co-authored with Michael Selig, an associate attorney in the New York office of Perkins Coie.


Continue Reading Swaps and Retail Commodity Transactions (Leverage, Margin or Financing: Will We Know It When We See It or Only After It Has Been Identified As Such?)

Earlier today, European regulators and the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency provided additional relief (of sorts) from the March 1st variation margin deadline and related amendments of credit support documentation for non-cleared swaps.   This relief was provided by the regulators in recognition of the challenges faced by market participants in amending trading and credit support documentation in time for the March 1, 2017 variation margin deadline.  The following is a “Plain English” overview of where things stand in less than 300 words:
Continue Reading US and European Regulators Issue Additional Relief from March 1st Variation Margin Deadline for Non-Cleared Swaps

Margin Proposal Outline 09_08_2014 On September 2nd, the Federal banking regulators (OCC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, FCA and FHFA) issued a new rule proposal and request for comment on rules that would govern the posting of margin on non-cleared swaps.  The rules would apply, in pertinent part, to swap dealer banks (i.e, prudentially regulated banks that are registered as a swap dealer or a security-based swap dealer with the CFTC or SEC, respectively), a term that is used interchangably in this posting with the term “covered swap entity(ies)”.  This posting will provide a summary of these proposed rules and related commentary as to their significance for end-users.  Additional information can be found in the attached slide deck.
Continue Reading Banking Regulators Propose New Margin Rules for Non-Cleared Swaps