CFTC mulls delay on rules impacting energy swaps: Bloomberg

WASHINGTON Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:14pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission may delay a rule set to take effect on Friday that would impact cleared energy swaps, according to a report by Bloomberg on Thursday.

New rules that were mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law require firms that have $8 billion or more in annual swap dealing activity to register with regulators as swap dealers, bringing them under additional scrutiny.

But CME Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange Inc, which offer clearing for energy swaps, are vying to recast those energy swaps as futures in hopes they won't count toward the $8 billion threshold. Clearinghouses stand in between parties to guarantee trades.

To help smooth the transition from swaps into futures, the CFTC is considering whether to allow a 60-day delay in the swaps rules, Bloomberg said, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The article did not elaborate on which swaps rules could be delayed.

CME Group declined to comment. ICE could not immediately be reached for comment. The CFTC did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

The CFTC previously said in September that firms would have 60 days to register as swaps dealers starting from the end of the month in which they hit the $8 billion transactions threshold.

That means the first firms to hit the threshold would not have to register until the end of the year.

Dodd-Frank gave the CFTC authority to regulate the $650 trillion over-the-counter swaps market after swaps played a central role in the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

The agency has faced some criticism for its handling of the new rules, including from firms that expressed frustration over a lack of clarity about when the rules would kick in and how to comply.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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