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January 12, 2012

CFTC May Soften Swap Conduct Rules for Pensions, Municipalities

U.S. regulators may soften Dodd- Frank Act rules designed to protect less-sophisticated customers in swap trades after banks, pension funds and municipalities said the original plan could damage the market.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, meeting in Washington today, may grant Wall Street banks a series of exceptions to rules requiring dealers to reasonably believe their derivatives are suitable for clients and in the best interests of endowments and other so-called special entities.

A measure scheduled for a final vote at today’s meeting would provide a safe harbor to banks offering swaps to the entities so long as they don’t recommend that clients buy specific swaps. It also would give banks a safe harbor from verifying the independence of a client’s adviser, allowing dealers to rely on clients’ claims.

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