Gensler updates Senate ag committee on Dodd-Frank

Dodd-Frank Reform

Congress and the President responded to the lessons of the 2008 crisis – they came together to pass the historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).

The law gave the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight of the more than $300 trillion swaps market. That’s over $20 of swaps for every dollar of goods and services produced in the U.S. economy. At such size and complexity, it is essential that these markets work for the benefit of the American public; that they are transparent, open and competitive; and that they do not allow excessive risk to spread through the economy.

The CFTC has benefited from significant public input throughout the rule-writing process. We have received more than 25,000 comment letters. CFTC staff and Commissioners have met more than 1,100 times with market participants and members of the public to discuss the rules, and have held more than 600 meetings with domestic and foreign regulators. We also have conducted 14 public roundtables on Dodd-Frank, many of them with the SEC.

The CFTC has substantially completed the proposal phase of Dodd-Frank rules. We have held 20 public meetings and issued more than 50 proposed rules on the many important areas of reform called for by the new law, including transparency, lowering risk through clearing, market integrity and regulating swap dealers.

The agency turned the corner this summer and began finalizing rules to make the swaps marketplace more open and transparent for participants and safer for taxpayers. To date, we have finished 18 rules, and we have a full schedule of public meetings this month and into next year.

Promoting Transparency

The more transparent a marketplace is, the more liquid it is and the more competitive it is. When markets are open and transparent, prices are more competitive, markets are more efficient, and costs are lowered for companies and their customers. Transparency benefits the entire economy.

To increase market transparency, we have completed rules that, for the first time, provide a detailed and up-to-date view of the physical commodity swaps markets so regulators can police for fraud, manipulation and other abuses. The large trader reporting rule we finalized establishes that clearinghouses and swap dealers must report to the CFTC information about large trader activity in the physical commodity swaps markets. The rule went into effect November 21. For decades, the American public has benefitted from the Commission’s gathering of large trader data in the futures market, and now will benefit from the CFTC’s new ability to monitor swaps markets for agricultural, energy and metal products.

We also finished a rule, which became effective October 31, establishing registration and regulatory requirements for Swap Data Repositories, which will gather data on all swaps transactions. By contrast, in the fall of 2008, there was no required reporting about swaps trading.

Moving forward, we are working to finish rules relating to the specific data that will have to be reported to the CFTC. These reforms will provide the Commission with a comprehensive view of the entire swaps market, furthering our ability to monitor market participants and to protect against systemic risk.

We also are looking to soon finalize real-time reporting rules, which will give the public critical information on transactions – similar to what has been working for decades in the securities and futures markets.

In addition, we are working on final regulations for trading platforms, such as Designated Contract Markets, Swap Execution Facilities and Foreign Boards of Trade – all of which will help make the swaps market more open and transparent. The Foreign Boards of Trade rule will be considered at our next Commission meeting December 5.

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