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The following posts provide a snapshot of the principal U.S., European and global financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates.

  • EU Consultation on Changes to Position Limits for Commodity Derivatives
    11/05/2019

    Following its Call for Evidence issued in May this year, the European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on proposed revisions to the legal framework for position limits and position management in commodity derivatives. The position limits regime was introduced by the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. MiFID II requires the European Commission to report to the European Parliament and the Council on the impact of the application of position limits and position management on liquidity, market abuse and orderly pricing and settlement conditions in commodity derivatives markets. ESMA must provide the Commission with advice regarding this new regime to support the Commission's preparation of the report, including any recommendations for changing the legislative requirements. Responses to ESMA's consultation should be submitted by January 8, 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: DerivativesMiFID II
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Report on Progress of Over-The-Counter Derivatives Market Reforms
    10/15/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on the progress its member jurisdictions have made in 2019 on the implementation of agreed G20 reforms to over-the-counter derivatives markets. The report finds that there has been limited additional implementation of the reforms since the FSB’s 2018 report.

    Read more.
  • EU Council Adopts Laws on Enhanced Supervision of Third-Country CCPs 
    10/15/2019

    The Council of the European Union has adopted the amendments to EU law on CCP supervision. The adopted laws revising the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR 2.2) will change how both EU CCPs and third-country CCPs are supervised, and implement into legislation the controversial EU "location policy" for the largest third-country CCPs. According to the Council's press release, EMIR 2.2 is scheduled to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on December 12, 2019 and would come into force 20 days later. The legislative process relevant to EMIR 2.2 has taken place with the U.K. exit from the European Union in the background and many of the changes relevant to third-country CCPs are effectively a response to the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU, given that two of the three largest European Union clearing houses are U.K.-based.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Report on Progress of Over-The-Counter Derivatives Market Reforms
    10/15/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on the progress its member jurisdictions have made in implementing the agreed G20 reforms to over-the-counter derivatives markets in 2018. The report finds that good progress has been made in implementation of the agenda.

    Read more.
  • International Bodies Issue Report on Governance Arrangements for Derivatives Data
    10/09/2019

    The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and the International Organization of Securities Commissions have published a joint report on governance arrangements for critical data elements for over-the-counter derivatives. The report does not cover governance arrangements for the Unique Transaction Identifier and Unique Product Identifier, which are being reviewed separately by the Financial Stability Board. The report aims to contribute to international efforts to improve transparency, mitigate systemic risk and prevent market abuse in derivatives markets.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Governance Arrangements for Unique Product Identifier
    10/09/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on governance arrangements for the Unique Product Identifier, a globally harmonized code identifying over-the-counter derivatives products reported to trade repositories. The UPI will enable authorities to aggregate data on OTC derivatives transactions, which will in turn help them to assess systemic risk and detect market abuse.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Consults on Alignment of EU Trading and Clearing Obligations
    10/04/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a consultation paper on aligning the trading obligation under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation with the recent changes made to the clearing obligation under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation by the EMIR Refit Regulation. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by November 22, 2019. ESMA intends to submit its final report to the European Commission in early 2020, with the Commission’s report to the European Parliament and Council expected by December 18, 2020.

    Read more.
  • EU Consultation on Clearing Service Provision under EMIR Refit
    10/03/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has opened a consultation on its draft technical advice on commercial terms for providing clearing services under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by December 2, 2019.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes 2020 Work Priorities
    10/01/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its Annual Work Programme for 2020. The Work Programme sets out ESMA’s focus areas for 2020 and provides details of expected outputs within each of the areas. In 2019, the European Council, Parliament and Commission agreed on new tasks for ESMA, meaning that ESMA will take on an enhanced role in areas including direct supervision, supervisory convergence and investor protection. The final Regulations amending the scope of the European Supervisory Authorities’ work mandates are expected to be published in the second half of 2019.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Issues Call for Evidence on Product Intervention Measures
    09/30/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a call for evidence on the impact of its product intervention powers prohibiting the marketing, distribution and sale of binary options to retail clients and imposing restrictions upon contracts for difference that were marketed, distributed or sold to retail clients. ESMA is seeking feedback from all interested stakeholders, in particular investment firms and banks providing investment services (particularly those that provide CfDs or binary options captured by the product intervention measures) and consumer groups and investors. Responses should be submitted by November 4, 2019.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: DerivativesMiFID II
  • European Banking Authority Launches Consultation on Synthetic Securitizations Framework
    09/25/2019

    The European Banking Authority has launched a consultation on its proposed simple, transparent and standardized framework for synthetic securitization. The paper also seeks feedback from stakeholders on a proposed list of criteria that should be considered when labeling a synthetic securitization an STS and on the introduction of different regulatory treatments for STS synthetic securitizations. The EBA will hold a public hearing on October 9, 2019 and responses to the consultation should be provided by November 25, 2019.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Consults on Final Fall Backs for Alternative Risk-Free Rates
    09/18/2019

    Following its previous two consultations, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association has launched a consultation on the proposed final parameters that will apply to alternative risk-free rates if derivatives fall backs are triggered. Responses to the consultation should be provided by October 23, 2019. ISDA will amend the 2006 ISDA Definitions based on the feedback and also intends to publish a protocol so that market participants can include fall backs in legacy IBOR contracts, if needed. Both documents are expected to be finalized before the end of 2019, ready for implementation in 2020.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Issues Communication on Final Preparations for No-Deal Brexit
    09/04/2019

    The European Commission has published a Communication on finalizing preparations for the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU on November 1, 2019. The Commission stresses the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit on October 31, 2019 and asks all stakeholders to take action now to finalize their plans for the situation, noting that the contingency measures that are in place can only mitigate against some of the more significant disruptions. The Commission warns that a further delay to the date that the U.K. exits the EU should not be assumed, in that a delay may not be requested by the U.K. government nor granted by the EU.

    Read more.
  • EU Restrictions on Contracts for Difference Lifted in Wake of National Measures
    07/31/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that it will not again renew its product intervention measure for Contracts for Differences. ESMA's product intervention powers under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation allow it to impose temporary prohibitions or restrictions on certain financial instruments, financial activities or practices to address a significant investor protection concern in the EU. ESMA's first restrictions on the marketing, distribution and sale of CfDs to retail clients applied from August 1, 2018 and was then extended every three months because ESMA did not consider that the consumer protection risk had been addressed. ESMA's view is that because most national regulators in EU member states have now adopted permanent measures, its own temporary restrictions do not need to be extended. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has imposed permanent restrictions on the sale, marketing and distribution of CfDs and CfD-like options to retail consumers. The rules will apply to all CfDs entered into from August 1, 2019, and to CfD-like options entered into from September 1, 2019.

    Read more.
  • UK Draft Legislation for Post-Brexit EMIR 2.1 Published
    07/25/2019

    A draft U.K. statutory instrument to onshore into U.K. law, post-Brexit, the revised European Market Infrastructure Regulation (known as EMIR Refit) has been published - The Over the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories (Amendment, etc., and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019.

    EMIR Refit was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on May 28, 2019 and, for the most part, has applied directly across the EU since June 17, 2019.

    Read more.
  • Margin Requirements for Uncleared Derivatives Delayed for Certain Counterparties
    07/23/2019

    The target date at international level for regulators to introduce margin requirements for uncleared derivatives for counterparties with lower trading volumes has been extended for a year by the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Basel Committee on Banking Standards. The amendment may, depending on regulatory responses, in turn impact small banks, asset managers, pension funds and insurers.

    In March 2015, the Basel Committee and IOSCO published a revised version of their policy framework for the exchange of margin for uncleared derivatives. The main revisions were to delay by nine months the phase-in period for the obligations relating to both initial margin and variation margin. Relevant international standards apply to entities that are financial firms and systemically important non-financial entities, the definitions for which are determined by national regulation.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • UK Regulator Consults on Changes to Counterparty Credit Risk Treatment
    07/23/2019

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has issued a consultation on proposed additions to its Supervisory Statement on counterparty credit risk. The additions are intended to provide clarity to the market on how firms should satisfy the Capital Requirements Regulation's requirement to ensure senior management are aware of the limitations and assumptions included in models used to calculate exposure values for derivatives. The consultation is relevant to all firms captured by the provisions of the Capital Requirements Directive. Responses to the consultation are requested by October 25, 2019.

    Read more.
  • Recommended Legal Action Plan for Transition from EONIA to €STR
    07/16/2019

    Following its consultation earlier this year, the working group charged with implementing the European market's move away from EONIA, has published a recommended legal action plan for new and legacy contracts referencing EONIA. The implementation of the recommended legal measures is intended to address issues arising from the transition from EONIA to the euro short-term rate (known as €STR). €STR is a risk-free rate and, with a fixed spread, will replace EONIA as a reference rate in a variety of euro-denominated financial contracts, including derivatives, collateral remuneration for derivatives and cash products such as commercial paper, repurchase agreements and default interest payable under syndicated loans.

    Read more.
  • EMIR Refit: EU Clarification on Derivatives Trading and Clearing Obligations
    07/12/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a Statement clarifying the application and interaction of the EU derivatives clearing and trading obligations following the entry into force of the revised European Market Infrastructure Regulation, known as EMIR Refit.

    EMIR Refit has, subject to limited exceptions, applied directly across the EU since June 17, 2019. EMIR Refit amended the definition of a Financial Counterparty, bringing central securities depositories authorized under the EU Central Securities Depositories Regulation within scope and categorizing all Alternative Investment Funds as FCs (or, for non-EU funds, as third-country entities equivalent to FCs). It also introduced a clearing threshold for FCs, meaning that small FCs are exempt from the clearing obligation. In addition, Non-Financial Counterparties that meet the clearing threshold no longer must clear all derivatives that they enter that are subject to the clearing obligation, but only those derivatives in the asset class for which they have exceeded the threshold.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: DerivativesMiFID II
  • EU Seeks Feedback on Taxonomy for Sustainable Economic Activities
    07/04/2019

    The European Commission's Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance has launched a call for feedback on the taxonomy for sustainable economic activities. The TEG's Report on Taxonomy was published on June 18, 2019, alongside the Commission's Guidelines on reporting climate-related information, an interim TEG report on EU climate benchmarks and a TEG report on an EU green bond standard. The Report on Taxonomy links to the EU's proposed Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment.

    Feedback on the TEG's Report on Taxonomy should be submitted by September 13, 2019.

    View the Report on Taxonomy.

    View further details on the call for feedback.

    View the Commission's Guidelines on reporting climate-related information.
  • EU to Lift Temporary Ban on the Sale of Binary Options to Retail Clients in Wake of National Measures
    07/01/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has ended its temporary prohibition on the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail clients. ESMA's product intervention powers under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation allow it to impose temporary prohibitions or restrictions on certain financial instruments, financial activities or practices to address a significant investor protection concern in the EU.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Publishes Rules Restricting Sale of Contracts for Difference and Related Options
    07/01/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published the Conduct of Business (Contracts for Difference) Instrument 2019, implementing product intervention measures designed to restrict the sale, marketing and distribution of contracts for difference and contract for difference-like options to retail consumers. The rules will affect: (i) retail clients who invest, or may invest, in CFDs and CFD-like options; (ii) investment firms caught by the provisions of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (including those caught by the Capital Requirements Directive, where appropriate) that are involved in marketing, distributing or selling CFDs and CFD-like options in, or from, the U.K. to retail clients; and (iii) U.K. branches of third-country investment firms that are involved in marketing, distributing or selling CFDs or CFD-like options to retail clients.

    Read more.
  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Publishes Revisions to Leverage Ratio Requirements
    06/26/2019

    The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has published revisions to its standards for leverage ratio capital requirements. The revisions relate to: (i) calculations of leverage ratios for "client-cleared" derivatives; and (ii) disclosure requirements for leverage ratios.

    Read more.
  • US and UK Regulators Issue Joint Statement on Credit Derivatives Markets
    06/24/2019

    The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority have issued a joint statement regarding the use of "opportunistic strategies" in the credit derivatives markets, including but not limited to so-called "manufactured credit events." The agencies expressed concern that the use of such strategies could adversely affect the integrity and confidence of these markets, as well as markets more generally, due to issues related to securities, derivatives conduct and antifraud laws, along with public policy concerns.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • European Commission Publishes Commission Delegated Regulation Extending Exemption from EU Transparency Requirements to the People's Bank of China
    06/20/2019

    An amending Commission Delegated Regulation to the existing Commission Delegated Regulation (Regulation 2017/1799), which specifies that third-country central banks may be exempted from certain transparency requirements under the Markets in Financial Infrastructure Regulation, has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The amendment means that the People's Bank of China will be added to the list of counterparty institutions whose transactions will not be subject to trade transparency requirements under MiFIR to the extent that those transactions are in pursuit of monetary, foreign exchange or financial stability policy. The amending Delegated Regulation will come into force and apply directly across the EU from July 10, 2019.
     
    View the amending Commission Delegated Regulation.
     
    View Commission Delegated Regulation 2017/1799.
  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Discusses Supervisory Initiatives and Approves Implementation Reports
    06/20/2019

    Central bankers and banking supervisors of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision met this week to discuss a range of policy and supervisory initiatives. 

    Read more.
  • UK Secondary Legislation Published to Implement Changes under EMIR REFIT
    06/17/2019

    The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Over the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 have been made and will come into force on July 9, 2019.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Postpones Review of Transparency Requirements under MiFIR
    06/17/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has postponed its review of the operation of transparency requirements laid out under Regulatory Technical Standards issued under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. MiFIR's transparency regime obliges those providing investment services in the EU to disclose details of their transactions in bonds, structured finance products, emission allowances and derivatives both prior to, and following, trades. The detail of how participants should comply with this transparency regime is set out in the related delegated acts and technical standards published under MiFIR. Under the MiFIR RTS, ESMA is obliged to submit a report on the operation of thresholds for the liquidity and trade percentiles of certain financial instruments by July 30 each year. However, given the continuing uncertainties over Brexit, ESMA considers it would be inappropriate to perform the review by the usual deadline, particularly as the results of its review may lead to a tightening of the relevant rules. No new deadline for performing the review has yet been established.

    View ESMA's letter.

    View the transparency RTS.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Chair Queries EMIR REFIT Clearing Threshold Calculation for Certain Financial Counterparties
    06/07/2019

    The Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, has requested clarity from the European Commission on the methodology for calculating the clearing threshold of a Financial Counterparty that is part of a non-financial group under the revised European Market Infrastructure Regulation (known as EMIR REFIT).

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Publishes Policy Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Process for Securitization Repositories, including post-Brexit
    06/06/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement setting out the final rules governing the FCA's authority to impose sanctions on persons for breaching requirements imposed under the U.K. Securitization Regulations 2018, which implements the EU Securitization Regulation. The Policy Statement also includes proposals on how the FCA will apply its existing supervisory and enforcement processes to securitization repositories (the bodies responsible for collecting and maintaining records of securitizations) after the U.K.'s exit from the EU.

    Read more.
  • US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Provides Margin Relief for Legacy Swaps
    06/06/2019

    In response to a request from the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight issued no-action relief that will permit swap dealers to make certain amendments to so-called "legacy swaps" without such swaps losing their legacy status for purposes of the CFTC's uncleared swap margin rule. Legacy swaps are exempt from the CFTC's uncleared swap margin rule because they were entered into prior to the relevant compliance date for that rule. The relief provides clarity that certain amendments to legacy swaps will not bring them within scope of the rule.

    The relief will permit swap dealers to continue to treat the following as legacy swaps:
    • legacy swaps that are amended in an immaterial manner (defined as amendments that would not affect the economic obligations of the parties or the valuation of the swap);
    • a swap resulting from the exercise of a swaption that is itself a legacy swap;
    • the remaining portion of a swap following a partial termination of such legacy swap;
    • the remaining portion of a swap following a partial novation of such legacy swap; and
    • new swaps resulting from a multilateral compression exercise consisting solely of legacy swaps.

    View the No-Action letter.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • EONIA Methodology and One-Off Spread Confirmed
    05/31/2019

    The European Money Markets Institute has adopted the EONIA working group's proposed methodology for calculating EONIA's replacement rate. The new methodology, dubbed "€STR" (or the "Euro short term rate"), will take effect as of October 2, 2019. In line with the adoption of the €STR, the European Central Bank has calculated the average risk spread between the new €STR and the existing EONIA rate as 0.0085% (8.5 basis points). The spread will be used for a limited period to calculate an adjusted EONIA rate for all existing contracts which continue to reference EONIA following the introduction of the €STR in October 2019.

    Read more.
  • EMIR Refit Regulation Published
    05/28/2019

    The Regulation amending the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, known as EMIR Refit or EMIR 2.1, has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    The EMIR Refit amendments aim to introduce a simplified and more proportionate approach to certain aspects of EMIR as part of the EU's broader "Regulatory Fitness and Performance Program".

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Draft Implementing Technical Standards For Supervisory Reporting under the Capital Requirements Regulation
    05/28/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published draft Implementing Technical Standards for supervisory reporting, which make changes to the existing reporting obligations of EU banks (credit institutions) and investment firms. The majority of the technical standards will apply from March 2020, with the exception of the liquidity coverage requirements, which will apply from April 2020.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Assesses Legal Entity Identifier Implementation
    05/28/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has published a thematic review on the implementation of the Legal Entity Identifier. An LEI is a unique identifier of entities that engage in financial transactions. It is intended that such an identifier will be held by all legal entities participating in financial markets across the globe. It is envisaged that the LEI system will lead to better data aggregation, enhance systemic risk monitoring and reduce costs to market participants. The thematic review provides a summary assessment of the successes of the LEI, sets out steps that are still needed to fully achieve the G20's objectives and makes recommendations, addressed to the FSB, other international bodies (such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions and Basel Committee on Banking Standards), FSB member jurisdictions, the LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee and Global LEI Foundation, to tackle the issues that are preventing wider adoption of the LEI.

    View the report.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Consults on EMIR 2.2 Technical Advice
    05/28/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched consultations on proposed technical advice on third-country CCP tiering, comparable compliance and fees under draft revisions to the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, known as EMIR 2.2. EMIR 2.2 will change the requirements for the supervision of both EU and third-country CCPs, and includes the controversial formal EU "location policy" for CCPs. The text of EMIR 2.2 was agreed between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on March 13, 2019, but has not yet been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. However, the European Commission requested technical advice from ESMA on May 3, 2019 and ESMA has begun that preparatory work. The consultations close on July 29, 2019. ESMA intends to submit its final reports and technical advice to the European Commission in Q3 and Q4 2019.

    Read more.
  • Proposed EU Guidelines for Reporting of Securities Financing Transactions
    05/27/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a consultation paper proposing guidelines for reporting of securities financing transactions under the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation. SFTs involve the use of securities to borrow cash or other higher investment-grade securities, or vice versa. Such transactions can include repurchase transactions, securities lending and sell/buy backs. The SFTR requires, amongst other things, that all securities financing transactions be reported to EU recognized trade repositories. Such reports must include details on the composition of collateral, whether collateral is available for reuse or has been reused, the substitution of collateral and any haircuts applied. The reporting obligation will apply to financial and non-financial counterparties, subject to exceptions for central banks and similar bodies, and will be phased-in according to type of entity:
    • banks and investment firms from April 11, 2020;
    • CCPs and central securities depositories from July 11, 2020;
    • other Financial Counterparties from October 11, 2020; and
    • Non-Financial Counterparties from January 11, 2021.
    Read more.
  • EU Authority Asks for Feedback on the MiFID II Position Limits Regime for Commodity Derivatives
    05/24/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a Call for Evidence on position limits and position management in commodity derivatives introduced by the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. MiFID II requires the European Commission to report to the European Parliament and the Council on the impact of the application of position limits and position management on liquidity, market abuse and orderly pricing and settlement conditions in commodity derivatives markets. ESMA has been asked to provide the Commission with advice regarding this new regime to support the Commission's preparation of the report.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: DerivativesMiFID II
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Consults Further on Fallbacks for the Cessation of Benchmarks
    05/16/2019

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has published two consultation papers on fallbacks for benchmarks. The first consultation paper concerns proposed amendments to ISDA's standard documentation to implement fallbacks based on alternative risk-free rates for certain key Interbank Offered Rates (USD LIBOR, Hong Kong's HIBOR, Canada's CDOR and Singapore's SOR), should the relevant IBOR be permanently discontinued. ISDA is intending to amend and restate the rate options in the 2006 ISDA Definitions to ensure that a fallback will apply to derivative transactions entered into on or after the effective date of the amendments and incorporate the 2006 ISDA Definitions. ISDA also intends to publish a protocol to help ensure inclusion of the fallbacks in pre-existing derivative transactions. This consultation follows ISDA's consultation last July on these changes for GBP LIBOR, CHF LIBOR, JPY LIBOR, TIBOR, Euroyen TIBOR and BBSW. ISDA confirms that the feedback to that July 2018 consultation indicates that market participants prefer the "compounded setting in arrears rate" to address the difference in tenors, and the "historical mean/median approach" to address the difference in risk premia. Based on the feedback to both of these consultations, ISDA intends to implement fallbacks for the relevant benchmarks by the end of 2019.

    Read more.
  • EONIA Working Group Seeks Feedback on Implementation of Euro Risk-Free Rates
    05/15/2019

    The working group charged with implementing the European market's move away from EONIA, the current reference rate used in euro-denominated financial contracts, has published a consultation paper setting out its "Legal Action Plan" for transitioning to the chosen new euro short-term rate. The current consultation paper focuses on how the new rate should be incorporated into both new and existing financial contracts so as to ensure a swift and smooth transition from EONIA. The paper seeks feedback from market participants on its proposals. Responses should be sent by June 12, 2019.

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Launches Consultation on Technical Standards for Counterparty Credit Risk
    05/02/2019
    The European Banking Authority has launched a consultation on the Regulatory Technical Standards that it is developing to govern certain aspects of counterparty credit risk in derivatives transactions. The EBA has been mandated to produce the RTS under the current draft of the Capital Requirements Regulation 2. The consultation runs until August 2, 2019. A public hearing will also take place at the EBA premises in Paris on June 17, 2019 from 15:00 - 17:00 CET. Parties interested in attending should register by May 28, 2019.

    Read more.
  • EU Equivalence Decision for Japan for Uncleared Derivatives
    05/02/2019

    A Commission Implementing Decision declaring equivalence of the Japanese legal, supervisory and enforcement arrangements for risk mitigation techniques and exchange of collateral has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The European Market Infrastructure Regulation requires counterparties to uncleared derivatives to comply with requirements on timely confirmation, portfolio compression, procedures for reconciliation of disputes and the exchange of collateral, collectively known as the risk mitigation techniques. The European Commission is empowered to adopt an equivalence decision declaring that the requirements of a third country are equivalent to the EMIR requirements on risk mitigation. The USA has also benefited from such a decision in respect of its risk mitigation arrangements.

    Read more.
  • US Federal Reserve Proposes Broadened Application of US Netting Provisions
    05/02/2019

    The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has proposed amendments to Regulation EE, which implements the netting provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991.  The proposed amendments would expand the definition of “financial institution” for purposes of the netting provisions to more clearly cover certain categories of entities and would clarify how the activities-based test under Regulation EE applies following the consolidation of legal entities.

    Read more.
  • Further Extension of the EU Contracts for Difference Product Intervention Measures
    04/30/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a Decision renewing and amending the temporary restriction on the marketing, distribution or sale of contracts for difference to retail clients. This has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. ESMA announced on March 27, 2019, that the existing restriction would be extended on the same terms as the previously implemented temporary restrictions. The CfD Decision applies directly across the EU from May 1, 2019, for a period of three months.

    View the decision.
  • EU Legislation Extends the Clearing Obligation Exemption for Certain Intragroup Derivatives Transactions
    04/29/2019

    A Commission Delegated Regulation extending the exemption from the clearing obligation for intragroup transactions with a third-country group entity has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. There are currently three sets of Regulatory Technical Standards made under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation that impose the clearing obligation for certain interest rate derivatives and credit derivatives. Each of these three RTS exempts from the clearing obligation certain intragroup derivatives transactions where one of the counterparties is a third-country group entity and there is no relevant equivalence decision in respect of the third country in which it is situated. An equivalence decision would enable parties that are subject to both the EU and a third country's clearing obligation to comply only with one jurisdiction's requirements, but no equivalence decisions have been made to date. Each of the three RTS sets a different expiry date for the intra-group exemption, which fall between December 21, 2018 and July 9, 2019.

    The Delegated Regulation, which is substantively the same as ESMA's final draft submitted to the European Commission in September 2018, amends each of the RTS by extending the exemption period to one unified expiry date of December 21, 2020. The Delegated Regulation enters into force on April 29, 2019 and is directly applicable across the EU.

    View the Delegated Regulation.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • UK Regulator Delays Final Product Intervention Measures on Contracts for Difference
    04/26/2019

    The Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement on the delay to publication of final rules for contracts for difference products and CfD-like options. The FCA has consulted on its proposals to make European Securities and Markets Authority's temporary product intervention measures permanent in the U.K. The FCA's proposed interventions are the same in substance as ESMA's, although it is also proposing to apply its rules to closely substitutable products and on extending these measures to exchange-traded derivatives. The consultation closed on February 7, 2019.

    Read more.
  • US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Issues No-Action Letters to Ensure Continued Relief and Substituted Compliance for U.K. Firms Post-Brexit
    04/05/2019

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued two no-action letters to ensure that existing regulatory relief and substituted compliance measures for EU firms will continue to apply to U.K. firms following the U.K.’s departure from the EU.  The CFTC said that the no-action letters will bring greater clarity to the market in light of Brexit and reflect the CFTC’s commitment to ensuring that Brexit will not create regulatory uncertainty in global derivatives markets.  The relief is intended to cover both “no-deal” and “soft” Brexit scenarios.  The relief would apply upon the departure of the U.K. (and would thus take effect at the end of the most recent extension of the departure date to October 31, 2019).

    CFTC Letter 19-08 extends to U.K. entities substituted compliance measures originally issued for EU entities.  These measures include comparability determinations for certain entity-level, transaction-level and uncleared margin requirements (the EU Comparability Determinations), along with an exemption for EU-authorized multilateral trading facilities and organised trading facilities from the CFTC’s swap execution facility registration requirements.

    Read more.
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Implements Permanent Ban of Sale of Binary Options to Retail Consumers
    03/29/2019

    Following its recent consultation, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement, final rules and a Statement on the new product intervention measure it is introducing for retail binary options. Both contracts for difference and binary options are considered to have given rise to significant investor protection concerns, due to their complexity, the lack of transparent information at the point of sale, the risk of significant loss for investors and the deployment of aggressive marketing techniques by certain providers and distributors of the products. The FCA's product intervention powers under the Markets in Financial Instrument Regulation and, where the FCA has gone beyond those powers, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 allow it to impose prohibitions or restrictions on certain financial instruments, financial activities or practices to address a significant investor protection concern. The FCA also consulted on product intervention rules for CfDs and those final rules are expected to be published in April this year.

    Read more.
  • EU Contracts for Difference Product Intervention Measures to be Extended
    03/27/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that its restrictions on the sale, distribution and marketing of contracts for difference to retail investors will be extended from May 1, 2019, for a further three months. The extension will be on the same terms as the existing product intervention measure.

    View ESMA's announcement.

    View details of the existing decision.
  • EU Product Intervention Measures for Binary Options Extended
    03/27/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a Decision renewing the temporary prohibition on the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail clients for a further three months from April 2, 2019. This has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. ESMA announced in February this year that the existing restriction would be extended. The binary options Decision applies directly across the EU from April 2, 2019, for a period of three months.

    View the decision.

    View ESMA's notification.
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