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July 18 -- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) is issuing this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM or Notice) and seeking public comment regarding potential regulatory amendments under the Commodity Exchange Act governing the risk management programs of swap dealers, major swap participants, and futures commission merchants. In particular, the Commission is seeking information and public comment on several issues stemming from the adoption of certain risk management programs, including the governance and structure of such programs, the enumerated risks these programs must monitor and manage, and the specific risk considerations they must take into account; the Commission further seeks comment on how the related periodic risk reporting regime could be altered or improved. The Commission intends to use the information and comments received from this Notice to inform potential future agency action, such as a rulemaking, with respect to risk management. Comments must be in writing and received by September 18, 2023.

Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) amended the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework to reduce risk, increase transparency, and promote market integrity within the financial system by, among other things, providing for the registration and comprehensive regulation of swap dealers (SDs) and major swap participants (MSPs), and enhancing the rulemaking and enforcement authorities of the CFTC with respect to all registered entities and intermediaries subject to its oversight, including, among others, futures commission merchants (FCMs). Added by the Dodd-Frank Act, CEA section 4s(j) outlines the duties with which SDs must comply. Specifically, CEA section 4s(j)(2) requires SDs to establish robust and professional risk management systems adequate for managing the day-to-day business of the registrant. CEA section 4s(j)(7) directs the Commission to prescribe rules governing the duties of SDs, including the duty to establish risk management procedures. In April 2012, the Commission adopted Regulation 23.600, which established requirements for the development, approval, implementation, and operation of SD risk management programs (RMPs).

Following two FCM insolvencies involving the misuse of customer funds in 2011 and 2012, the Commission proposed and adopted a series of regulatory amendments designed to enhance the protection of customers and customer funds held by FCMs. The Commission adopted Regulation 1.11 in 2013 to establish risk management requirements for those FCMs that accept customer funds. Regulation 1.11 is largely aligned with the SD risk management requirements in Regulation 23.600 (together with Regulation 1.11, the RMP Regulations). The Commission concluded at that time that it could mitigate the risks of misconduct and an FCM's failure to maintain required funds in segregation with more robust risk management systems and controls.

The Commission is issuing this ANPRM for several reasons. After Regulation 23.600 was initially adopted in 2012, the Commission received a number of questions from SDs concerning compliance with these requirements, particularly those concerning governance (for example, questions regarding who is properly designated as “senior management,” as well as issues relating to the reporting lines within the risk management unit). The intervening decade of examination findings and ongoing requests for staff guidance from SDs with respect to Regulation 23.600 warrant consideration of the Commission's rules and additional public discourse on this topic.

The Commission has further identified the enumerated areas of risk that RMPs are required to take into account, and the quarterly risk exposure reports (RERs), as other areas of potential confusion and inconsistency in the RMP Regulations for SDs and FCMs. Commission staff has observed significant variance among SD and FCM RERs with respect to how they define and report on the enumerated areas of risk (e.g., market risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, etc.), making it difficult for the Commission to gain a clear understanding of how specific risk exposures are being monitored and managed by individual SDs and FCMs over time, as well as across SDs and FCMs during a specified time period. Furthermore, the Commission's implementation experiences and certain market events over the last decade indicate that it may be appropriate to consider whether to include additional enumerated areas of risk in the RMP Regulations.

The Commission has observed inefficiencies with respect to the RER requirements in the RMP Regulations. Currently, Regulations 23.600(c)(2) and 1.11(e)(2) prescribe neither the format of the RER nor its exact filing schedule. As a result, the Commission frequently receives RERs in inconsistent formats containing stale information, in some cases data that is at least 90 days out-of-date. Furthermore, a number of SDs have indicated that the quarterly RERs are not relied upon for their internal risk management purposes, but rather, they are created solely to comply with Regulation 23.600, indicating to the Commission that additional consideration of the RER requirement is warranted.

Finally, the Commission also reminds SDs and FCMs that their RMPs may require periodic updates to reflect and keep pace with technological innovations that have developed or evolved since the Commission first promulgated the RMP Regulations. The Commission is seeking information regarding any risk areas that may exist in the RMP Regulations that the Commission should consider with respect to notable product or technological developments.

Therefore, the Commission is issuing this Notice to seek industry and public comment on these aforementioned specific aspects of the existing RMP Regulations, as discussed further below. . . .

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-15056 [11 pages]

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