CFTC Staff at Work on Swap Data Reporting Changes, Chairman Says

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By Richard Hill

CFTC staff is working on ways to improve swaps data reporting, with recommendations for proposed rules likely within the next nine months, Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo said Sept. 18.

A major focus is expected to be harmonizing swaps transaction, product, and data elements, Giancarlo said at an industry conference in Washington. He also said that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is sensitive not only to what data is reported, but when and how it is reported. The “when and how” elements may be different from what is required by foreign regulators, Giancarlo said.

The CFTC will work to harmonize its reporting regime with those of its international counterparts, but it’s possible the agency will require some reporting that isn’t necessary in other jurisdictions, the chairman said.

“Swaps data reporting is new for all of us,” Giancarlo said. “No regulator has yet found the optimal approach to success. Yet, we are all determined to get there.”

The agency will set “realistic compliance dates” for market participants, Giancarlo said. “We are sensitive to the complexity of changes to the rules,” he said.

Deference

Giancarlo also said the CFTC needs to “go further in applying greater deference” to assure that international regulators like the CFTC and EU are able to effectively harmonize their regulatory regimes. The remark echoes those he made several times during a just-completed 10-day tour of Europe to meet with foreign counterparts on that continent, with whom rule harmonization will be most critical.

Giancarlo, who became chairman in August, said the CFTC should give “broader deference to comparable foreign jurisdictions--not in every instance, but in many.” He said that a risk-based analysis of rules “may well be the right course.” Such a strategy would be consistent with the CFTC’s traditional approach to cross-border regulation, Giancarlo said.

The chairman said he and his EU counterparts are making “good progress” in negotiating an agreement to recognize each other’s swap execution rules. More will be revealed in the coming weeks, he said.

Giancarlo also reiterated his concerns regarding the EC’sproposed changes to its recognition framework for third-country central clearing parties. “For us,” he said, “the issue is whether the EU will seek to exercise direct oversight over other third-country CCPs—including U.S.-based ones.”

The EU should continue to defer to the U.S. on oversight of CFTC-regulated clearinghouses operating overseas, just as the U.S. has agreed to do for Europe, Giancarlo said. The two jurisdictions spent three years negotiating an equivalence agreement, he said. “We made a deal.”

Apart from Europe, the CFTC will be looking to update its regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis, Giancarlo said—a “Swaps Reform Version 2.0.” The initiative “will incorporate lessons from our initial reform efforts into a new and better framework,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Hill in Washington at rhill@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phyllis Diamond at pdiamond@bna.com

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