The CFTC approved a comparability determination that European Union ("EU") margin requirements for uncleared swaps are comparable in outcome to relevant CFTC Regulations. The European Commission ("EC") announced a similar equivalence decision that the CFTC uncleared margin rules are comparable to the EU's requirements.
The CFTC determination generally allows swap dealers that comply with the EU margin requirements, in circumstances enumerated in the CFTC Regulation 23.160, to be deemed to be in compliance with CFTC requirements. Such swap dealers would remain subject to CFTC examination and enforcement authority. CFTC Letter 17-22, which extended exemptive relief to certain swap dealers that are subject to both U.S. and European margin requirements for uncleared swaps, is no longer applicable.
In addition, the CFTC announced that the CFTC and the EC have agreed to a "common approach" for certain authorized trading venues. Under the common approach, the CFTC plans to grant relief to certain EU trading venues from the swap execution facility ("SEF") registration requirement, provided they satisfy the "comparable and comprehensive" standard for exemptive relief under CEA Section 5h(g). The EU would propose a corresponding equivalence decision recognizing CFTC-authorized SEFs and designated contract markets as eligible venues.
CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo characterized the cooperative efforts as an important step in cross-border harmonization:
"These cross-border measures will provide certainty to market participants. It will ensure that our global markets are not stifled by fragmentation, inefficiencies, and higher costs. Indeed these measures are critical to maintaining the integrity of our swaps markets."
The CFTC Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight extended time-limited no-action relief to swap dealers subject to both U.S. and European margin requirements for uncleared swaps. The relief was extended from May 8, 2017 until November 7, 2017.
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