CFTC Relief to Market Participants in Response to COVID-19

Washington, DC (STL.News) The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) has issued a number of no-action letters providing temporary, targeted relief to futures commission merchants, introducing brokers, swap dealers, retail foreign exchange dealers, floor brokers, and other market participants in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.  The spread of coronavirus has caused compliance with certain CFTC requirements to be particularly challenging or impossible because of displacement of registrant personnel from their normal business sites due to social distancing and other measures.

“These prudent, targeted, and temporary actions will help facilitate orderly trading and liquidity in our derivatives markets.  The CFTC remains squarely focused on promoting their integrity, resilience, and vibrancy through sound regulation,” said CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert.  “At my direction, the CFTC has pivoted our approach to take this challenge head on and we have dedicated appropriate resources to adapt to market developments.  I thank DSIO Director Josh Sterling and his staff for their expeditious development of this relief.”

Subject to the conditions stated in the letters, the relief provided is as follows:

  • Relief for Futures Commission Merchants and Introducing Brokers.  DSIO has granted temporary, targeted no-action relief to futures commission merchants and introducing brokers from CFTC regulations requiring recording of oral communications related to voice trading and other telephonic communications as well as time-stamping requirements when located in remote, socially-distanced locations. DSIO has also granted 30 days of no-action relief to futures commission merchants from the requirement to furnish annual compliance reports to the CFTC. [See CFTC Letter No. 20-03]
  • Relief for Swap Dealers.  DSIO has granted temporary, targeted no-action relief to swap dealers from CFTC regulations requiring recording of oral communications related to voice trading and other telephonic communications as well as time-stamping requirements when located in remote, socially-distanced locations.  DSIO has also granted 30 days of no-action relief to swap dealers from the requirement to furnish annual compliance reports to the CFTC. [See CFTC Letter No. 20-06]
  • Relief for Retail Foreign Exchange Dealers.  DSIO has granted temporary, targeted no-action relief to retail foreign exchange dealers from CFTC regulations requiring recording of oral communications related to voice trading and other telephonic communications as well as time-stamping requirements when located in remote, socially-distanced locations. [See CFTC Letter No. 20-05]
  • Relief for Floor Brokers.  DSIO has granted temporary, targeted no-action relief to floor brokers from CFTC regulations requiring recording of oral communications related to voice trading and other telephonic communications as well as time-stamping requirements when located in remote, socially-distanced locations. DSIO has also granted relief from the requirement to be located on the premises of a designated contract market and to register as introducing brokers, which might otherwise have been triggered in connection with trading activities undertaken at remote, socially-distanced locations. [See CFTC Letter No. 20-04]
  • Relief for Members of Designated Contract Markets and Swap Execution Facilities.  DSIO has granted temporary, targeted no-action relief to members of designated contract markets and swap execution facilities from time-stamping requirements when located in remote, socially-distanced locations [See CFTC Letter No. 20-02].