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Financials

Regulators seek input in race to regulate Wall St

* “Unorthodox” but efficient to seek comments before rules

* Chilton: Washington can’t write rules in a vacuum

* CFTC, SEC aim to have most rules drafted by mid-Dec

* Some rules with tighter deadlines will come sooner

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are soliciting comments before attempting to write new rules ahead of fast approaching deadlines to implement the extensive swaps portion of the Wall Street reform law.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which will bear the brunt of the swaps rule-making frenzy, said on Wednesday it will publish a Federal Register notice seeking comments, its latest plea for information from players in the $615 trillion over-the-counter derivatives industry.

“Regulators are charged with putting some meat on the bones of the new law, but we want comments from folks to get it right,” said CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton in a statement.

“We know Washington doesn’t have all the answers and we can’t write these important rules in a vacuum,” he said.

The CFTC has organized its to-do list into 30 topic areas, and has invited submissions on its web site to each.

(Link: r.reuters.com/zes53n)

Most of the areas have a 360-day deadline, meaning the CFTC will need to propose draft rules by late November to mid December so they can be finalized by mid-July, the agency’s general counsel told a Futures Industry Association meeting earlier this month.

“It’s a very fast-moving process,” Dan Berkovitz said, describing the challenge of trying to grapple with the intense industry interest on the plethora of rules.

Some rules with tighter deadlines will be drafted sooner, such as the much-anticipated revised rule for position limits for energy and metals markets. The final version of the rule is due by January.

Normally, interested parties often hold a series of meetings with CFTC staff members and commissioners to press their views on proposed rules, Berkovitz said.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury under the current process,” he said.

Agency staff are holding some meetings and public roundtables to gather input on issues, he said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which also must draft regulations to implement parts of the derivatives rules, is following a similar course and will aim to have drafts published by mid-December, said Brian Bussey, associate director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets.

“Even though it’s somewhat unorthodox to be seeking comment before proposed rules are actually out the door, I cannot stress enough the importance of commenting early and often,” Bussey told the FIA meeting.

(Listen to or watch the meeting: r.reuters.com/xat27n)

Both the CFTC and SEC are posting comments they receive on their websites. For the SEC's site, see: r.reuters.com/mab37n

Bank regulators are also putting an emphasis on transparency as they develop rules for other sections of the new law. [ID:nN12125226] (Editing by Jim Marshall)

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