The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Market Oversight (DMO) Friday issued no-action relief for end-users from certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the Dodd-Frank law. The requirements were to go into effect on Wednesday.
The no-action letter states that DMO will not recommend that the CFTC take enforcement action against an entity that is neither a swap dealer nor a major swap participant, including all end-users, for failing to report under the agency’s regulations.
The no-action relief was issued only days after CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton called on the agency to delay enforcement of noncompliance with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act rules on swap reporting for end-users that are trying to meet the agency requirements in good faith.
“Back in December 2012, I supported the Commission providing good faith forbearance relief for swap dealers and major swap participants until July 31 (under certain circumstances) when trying in earnest to come into compliance with the new CFTC Dodd-Frank rules,” said Chilton.
Likewise, “I will not approve an action against end-users [who are] seeking to comply with CFTC Dodd-Frank rules in good faith…until after Oct. 31,” he noted. Moreover, “during this implementation of Dodd-Frank, I will not support an action against an end-user, exchange, or anyone else on an issue deserving clarity that is the subject of an outstanding request for interpretive guidance.”
Chilton, one of the most vocal commissioners at the CFTC, advocated the relief for end-users and others as part of “The End-User Bill of Rights,” which he drafted and released last Wednesday, one week before the implementation (April 10) date for Dodd-Frank swap reporting rules for end-users. This will be the first major compliance date for the end-user community, many of whom have not been regulated by the CFTC until now.
The American Gas Association (AGA), which represents gas utilities, commended Chilton’s decision not to support an enforcement action against an end-user, exchange or others on issues that have yet to be clarified by the commission.
The group also called on the CFTC to clarify the extent to which non-financial contracts for the physical delivery of natural gas are within the scope of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act’s regulation of “swaps.”
“The current lack of regulatory certainty as to the treatment of physical natural gas transactions has created immense confusion in the industry, resulting in enormous compliance challenges and serious impacts on the physical natural gas market,” said AGA’s Andrew Soto, senior managing counsel for regulatory affairs.
“We hope the agency will provide clarity on the scope of the definition of ‘swaps’ and the requirements for reporting ‘trade options’ so that natural gas utilities can determine which of their physical gas contracts are subject to the Dodd-Frank regulations and how they must be reported. We urge the CFTC to take action before next Wednesday (April 10), to issue temporary no-action relief from compliance with the ‘swap’ reporting and recordkeeping requirements until the clarity is provided,” Soto said.
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