The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Tuesday issued a final order extending once more the effective date for new swap regulation — this time until Dec. 31. The order is effective immediately, according to the agency.

“The exemptive order makes five changes to the exemptive order issued on December 19, 2011. First, [it] extends the sunset date from July 16, 2012, to December 31, 2012. Second, the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have now completed the rule further defining the term swap dealer, and securities-based swap dealer. Thus, the exemptive order no longer provides relief as it once did until those terms were further defined,” CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said.

“The Commissions are also mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to further define the term “swap” and “securities-based swap.” The staffs are making great progress, and I anticipate the Commissions will take up this final definitions rule in the near term. Until that rule is finalized, the exemptive order appropriately provides relief from the effective dates of certain Dodd-Frank provisions,” Gensler said.

“Third, in advance of the completion of the definitions rule, market participants requested clarity regarding transacting in agricultural swaps. The exemptive order allows agricultural swaps cleared through a derivatives clearing organization or traded on a designated contract market to be transacted and cleared as any other swap. This is consistent with the agricultural swaps rule the Commission already finalized, which allows farmers, ranchers, packers, processors and other end-users to manage their risk.

“Fourth, unregistered trading facilities that offer swaps for trading were required under Dodd-Frank to register as swap execution facilities (SEFs) or designated contract markets by July of this year. These facilities include exempt boards of trade, exempt commercial markets and markets excluded from regulation under section 2(d)(2). Given the Commission has yet to finalize rules on SEFs, this order gives these platforms additional time for such a transition.

“Fifth, the Commission is providing guidance regarding enforcement of rules that require that certain off-exchange swap transactions only be entered into by eligible contract participants (ECPs). The guidance provides that if a person takes reasonable steps to verify that its counterparty is an ECP, but the counterparty turns out not to be an ECP based on subsequent Commission guidance, absent other material factors, the CFTC will not bring an enforcement action against the person.”

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