Tighter derivatives rules gain headway in U.S.

By Reuters
Posted Oct. 26, 2010 at 3:21 p.m.

The first global crackdown on the $615 trillion derivatives market gained momentum on Tuesday as U.S. regulators unveiled a new tool to police fraud and European officials urged tighter controls.

Moving to rein in vast, only loosely-regulated markets that were blamed for contributing to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission laid out plans to foil traders who seek to manipulate prices or defraud investors.

From “quote stuffing” and “spoofing” to “banging the close,” the CFTC eyed certain trading practices closely, though it stopped short, for now, of proposing specific rules to curb high-frequency trading .– a trading strategy that may have contributed to the May 6 “flash crash” on Wall Street.

The CFTC’s actions came as global regulators late on Monday urged national authorities to consider restricting derivatives trades that are not centrally cleared, or run through an open process that reduces risk and increases accountability.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB), based in Switzerland, under orders from the Group of 20 leading economies, is examining ways to standardize derivatives markets and have more transactions processed through central clearinghouses.

Much of the world’s derivatives trading occurs in New York, Chicago and London. U.S. changes are under way to impose more clearing and reporting of credit default swaps as required under the sweeping Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation approved in July.


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