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October 3, 2013

CFTC Is Away as New Swap Rules Take Effect

After wrangling for months with U.S. regulators over new swaps-trading rules, banks, brokers and investors had a new grievance Wednesday as the regulations took effect: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s out-of-office message was on.

Market participants groused that the agency wasn’t available for guidance following a raft of clarifications on the new rules in recent weeks. Just 4% of staffers at the CFTC, the main U.S. regulator for derivatives, were working Wednesday because of the partial government shutdown. A CFTC spokesman wasn’t available for comment.

On Wednesday, many firms began testing the new systems for the first time. Swaps are derivatives, traditionally not traded on exchanges, that corporations and financial institutions use to protect against or speculate on changes in everything from fuel costs to interest rates.

Few problems were reported, though many participants said testing was being undertaken with caution.”

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here

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