Saturday, July 13, 2013

Derivative Trading Regulation In US Takes A Small Step Forward

The US regulator for derivative trading has taken steps to apply the Dodd-Frank bill, which was passed during the financial crisis, to the trading of derivatives by US Banks.  The rule will prevent banks from shifting their trades to unregulated countries such as the Cayman Islands.  It was not able to apply Dodd-Frank to trades by bank subsidiaries in Europe and elsewhere.  The banks will be able to take advantage of less stringent rules in foreign subsidiaries as long as they can argue that the regulations in those countries are "comparable" to those in Dodd-Frank.  We can probably expect that millions will be spent by the banks on lawyers who will work vigorously to define "comparable" in a way that satisfies the banks.  Unfortunately, the head of the agency which regulates derivative trading is stepping down at the end of the year.  He has been reform minded.  We will have to wait to see if he is replaced by a like minded chairman, or by a regulator supported by the banking lobby.

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