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December 20, 2012

Bumpy final stretch in U.S. watchdog swaps overhaul

 

“On Monday, October 15, top U.S. derivatives regulator Gary Gensler watched a mock ceremony to mark the start of a broad overhaul of the swaps industry that started that day.

In a conference room at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), two senior staff members cut a white ribbon hanging over a copy of the 2010 Dodd-Frank act.

Yet the preceding Friday, the agency had slipped through a batch of letters to grant exceptions to the rules it was now celebrating.

The last-minute changes, critics say, were a telling sign of the overly aggressive way in which Gensler – himself a former Goldman Sachsbanker – is tackling the post-crisis clean-up of Wall Street.”

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“A failure to complete the process in a smooth and timely fashion could drive away investors already worried the watchdog’s clampdown will make swaps more expensive to use.

“By any measure, (the CFTC) has really done a terrific job, under incredibly adverse circumstances,” said Dennis Kelleher, who heads Better Markets, a Washington-based group advocating tougher rules for the financial industry.

A groundswell of discontent about the CFTC’s handling of the rules was only to be expected, he said, as the $650 trillion derivatives industry – largely in use by financial speculators – is being regulated for the first time.

“(In) every part of the process … we’ve seen Wall Street use its unlimited resources to either kill, cut or loophole first the law, and then the regulations,” Kelleher said.”

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Read full Reuters article here

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