From the February 01, 2012 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Position limit fight continues

WHOA THERE, NELLY!

Two Wall Street groups asked a federal appeals judge to delay the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) recently passed position limits rule, saying it already is causing irreparable harm.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (Sifma) and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) filed a lawsuit in district court against the CFTC in December claiming the agency had neglected to do a proper cost-benefit analysis when it voted to expand position limits into 28 commodity markets as part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

According to an ISDA spokeswoman, “ISDA filed the petition with the Court of Appeals to ask the Court to stay the implementation of the rules until disposition of the litigation.”

The associations asked the Court to make a decision by Jan. 27 because the rule will go into effect 60 days after the term “swap” is defined officially at both the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As part of the motion to stay the implementation, the associations presented testimony from a number of investment banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Much of that testimony concerned the costs of implementation.

“Preparing to comply with the rule would be extremely burdensome, and would impose immediate, irreversible costs on J.P. Morgan that will number in the millions of dollars,” Michael Camacho, head of global sales and structuring at J.P. Morgan Chase, said in the motion. “J.P. Morgan would never be able to recover these losses if a court ultimately concludes that the Rule is invalid.”

The rule is among the most controversial to come out of Dodd-Frank and spurred more than 13,000 comment letters. The CFTC voted 3-2 on Oct. 18 to approve the rule, with Commissioner Michael Dunn casting the deciding vote.

The agency did not respond to requests for comment.

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