Gensler testifies to House committee on international cooperation

International Coordination

To address changes in the derivatives markets as well as the real weaknesses in swaps market oversight exposed by the financial crisis, the CFTC is working to implement the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s derivatives oversight reforms. Our international counterparts also are working to implement reform.

Japan has acted and is now working to implement its reforms. In September of last year, the European Commission (E.C.) released its swaps proposal. The European Council and the European Parliament are now considering the proposal. Asian nations, as well as Canada, also are working on their reform packages.

As we work to implement the derivatives reforms in the Dodd-Frank Act, we are actively coordinating with international regulators to promote robust and consistent standards and avoid conflicting requirements in swaps oversight. The Commission participates in numerous international working groups regarding swaps, including the International Organization of Securities Commissions Task Force on OTC Derivatives, which the CFTC co-chairs with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The CFTC, SEC, European Commission and European Securities Market Authority are intensifying discussions through a technical working group.

As we do with domestic regulators, we are sharing many of our memos, term sheets and draft work product with international regulators. We have been consulting directly and sharing documentation with the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the UK Financial Services Authority, the new European Securities and Markets Authority, the Japanese Financial Services authority and regulators in Canada, France, Germany and Switzerland. Two weeks ago, I met with Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, to discuss ensuring consistency in swaps market regulation.

The Dodd-Frank Act recognizes that the swaps market is global and interconnected. It gives the CFTC the flexibility to recognize foreign regulatory frameworks that are comprehensive and comparable to U.S. oversight of the swaps markets in certain areas. In addition, we have a long history of recognition regarding foreign participants that are comparably regulated by a home country regulator. The CFTC enters into arrangements with our international counterparts for access to information and cooperative oversight. We have signed memoranda of understanding with regulators in Europe, North America and Asia.

Furthermore, Section 722(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act states that the provisions of the Act relating to swaps shall not apply to activities outside the U.S. unless those activities have “a direct and significant connection with activities in, or effect on, commerce” of the U.S. We are developing a plan for application of 722(d) and expect to receive public input on that plan.

I will highlight a few broad areas where both regulators in the U.S. and regulators abroad are implementing swaps oversight reform.

Broadening the Scope

Foremost, the Dodd-Frank Act broadened the scope of oversight. The CFTC and the SEC will, for the first time, have oversight of the swaps and security-based swaps markets. The CFTC’s remit is growing from a marketplace that has a notional value of approximately $40 trillion to one with a notional value of approximately $300 trillion.

Similar to the Dodd-Frank Act, the European Commission’s proposal covers the entire product suite, including interest rate swaps, currency swaps, commodity swaps, equity swaps and credit default swaps. It is important that all standardized swaps are subject to mandatory central clearing. We are working with our counterparts in Europe to make sure that all swaps, whether bilateral or traded on platforms, are subject to such mandatory clearing.

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