Agency Chiefs Provide Dodd-Frank Update

Terry Flanagan

The heads of the two major U.S. securities regulators took to Capitol Hill to provide an assessment of their efforts to implement the Dodd-Frank Act, three years after the passage of the historic law which arose out of the turbulence of the financial crisis.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, provided lawmakers with a summary of their accomplishments at achieving Dodd-Frank’s goals of creating greater transparency and less systemic risk in the financial system.

“These reforms for the first time bring oversight to swap dealers and major swap participants, some of whom were at the center of the bailouts of the financial crisis five years ago,” said Gensler.

Many of the core provisions of the Act that seek to reduce systemic risks are within the sole jurisdiction of the federal banking regulators, but some are within the SEC’s jurisdiction, such as establishing a regime for OTC derivatives, enhanced oversight for systemically-important financial market utilities, such as clearing agencies, and prohibiting banks from engaging in proprietary trading, hedge funds, or private equity.

The SEC has implemented the provision of the Dodd-Frank Act to establish reporting requirements for private funds via Form PF. To date, 2,300 investment advisers managing over $7 trillion in fund assets have filed 4,000 reports of Form PF covering 6,700 hedge funds, 66 liquidity funds and 5,900 private equity funds.

“The SEC has proposed or adopted rules for over 80 percent of the more than 90 Dodd-Frank provisions that require SEC rulemaking,” White said. “Completing this rulemaking, as well as the rulemaking required under the JOBS Act, remains a top and immediate priority.”

The CFTC has finalized rules relating to swap execution facilities (SEFs). Standardized swaps that are subject to the clearing requirement and made available for trading will be subject to a trade execution requirement staring by early next year, Gensler said. It has also finalized rules on central clearing, and oversight of swap dealers and other intermediaries.

Earlier this month, the CFTC and the European Union announced a “path forward” regarding joint understandings for the regulation of cross-border derivatives.

“This was a significant step forward in harmonizing and giving clarity to the markets, particularly where there might be jurisdictional overlaps,” Gensler said.

The CFTC over the next five months will be reviewing submissions from six jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, European Union, Hong Kong, Japan and Switzerland) to assess their regulatory regimes with regard to possible substituted compliance determinations.

It will lose work with foreign regulators on memoranda of understanding to ensure that they will be able to exercise their respective supervisory responsibilities in an efficient, coordinated manner.

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