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February 24, 2012

Regulators Propose Exemptions for Large Swap Trades

U.S. regulators on Thursday proposed allowing traders to delay disclosing information about certain large deals in the swaps derivatives market.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted 3-2 on a proposal to exempt swap “block trades” of a certain size from new requirements that mandate immediate disclosure of swap transactions. Swaps are complex derivative contracts that allow traders to “swap” fluctuations in interest rates, exchange rates, the likelihood of default or other financial instruments.

Brokers and traders argue that exceptions are necessary for very large trades to preserve the anonymity of traders during the time it takes to execute their trades.

Not everyone agrees on when traders need anonymity. Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, a nonprofit advocacy group, said that he had argued for a very high threshold for block trades. “What it really means is, how far are we going to move away from the current dark over-the-counter market?” Mr. Kelleher said.

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here.

 
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