SEC moves to delay most security-based swaps rules

Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:46pm EDT

* Move is first in series of actions, SEC says

* SEC may ask public to comment on implementation plan

By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday became the latest regulator running behind schedule to delay a host of new regulations overseeing the swaps market that were set to go into effect in July.

The securities regulator said "substantially all" of the new requirements pertaining to security-based swaps will not go into effect on July 16 -- a rapidly approaching deadline that would have implemented parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill enacted nearly a year ago.

"This is the first step in a series of actions the SEC intends to take in coming days to address effective date issues," said Robert Cook, director of the SEC's Division of Trading and Markets.

The SEC said after it has completed proposing all of the key rules required by Dodd-Frank it could ask the public to comment on a detailed implementation plan in order to minimize market disruptions and unnecessary costs.

The move by the SEC follows similar action on Tuesday when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is drafting rules for most derivatives including interest rate and currency swaps, voted to delay its requirements until as late as Dec. 31. [ID:nN14252810] It impacted major swaps-based measures including clearing exemptions for companies that use swaps to hedge and defining a swap. The SEC did not propose a deadline.

Under last year's Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, regulators have until mid-July to implement new rules that gave them oversight of the $600 trillion global swaps markets.

But the SEC and CFTC have said for months they will miss the deadline.

As a result, banks, traders and other market participants have been put in a bind, uncertain how they are to comply with rules that go into effect even though they have not been written, and what might happen if regulators find them in violation.

Critics warned that unless regulators create a short-term fix and provide some clarity for industry players worried about the so-called self-executing provisions, the market might be thrown into chaos.

(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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