UPDATE 1-U.S. Treasury unit to support CFTC on swaps data

Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:58pm EDT

(Adds timing in 10th paragraph)

By Douwe Miedema

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - A U.S. Treasury Department unit said on Monday it had signed a formal agreement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to help it sort out a raft of derivatives data and get a better handle on the global $690 trillion market.

The CFTC, which oversees futures and swaps, has complained it still is not getting a full and clear picture of what is happening in the derivatives market because the data it receives from market participants is not adequate.

"Each of the (companies) has different systems architecture and reporting technology," said the memorandum of understanding between the CFTC and the Treasury's Office of Financial Research. "These differences have created challenges to CFTC's efforts to review, analyze and aggregate the data."

The OFR was set up after the 2007-09 financial crisis to help regulators get better data on the institutions and markets they oversee, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law gave it sweeping powers to collect the data.

Reuters reported last week that infighting between market parties is one reason why CFTC still does not get good quality swaps data, something it has been complaining about ever since buyers and sellers were required to report trades more than a year ago.

Also, the three main data providers, or Swap Data Repositories, use different formats, making it all but impossible to aggregate the information.

A CFTC working group is now meeting regularly with the industry to agree on standards, harmonizing such data fields as a timestamp. The joint OFR/CFTC project would build on this work and would involve another working group with staff of the two agencies, they said.

The swaps market is dominated by large financial service companies like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc. It was long unregulated, but came under the CFTC through Dodd-Frank.

The three SDRs are run by the world's largest futures exchange, CME Group Inc ; Intercontinentalexchange Group Inc, which owns the New York Stock Exchange; and Depository Trust & Clearing Corp, which does back-office services for the Wall Street banks that own it.

The project would last until May 1, 2014, the two parties said, and could be extended with another six months. (Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andrea Ricci)

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