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Transatlantic Derivatives: CFTC and CEFR to Collaborate

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PARIS (–The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Committee of European Securities Regulators held a two-day round table on cross-border derivatives issues, Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, at CESR headquarters in Paris.

In a joint statement the two agencies said that the purpose of the round table was to hear the issues affecting those directly involved in exchange-traded derivatives and related transactions across the Atlantic and to establish key areas where improvements can or should be made in the regulatory system as it affects that market.

In October 2004, the CFTC and CESR entered into the “Transatlantic Cooperation Initiative,” and this round table launches the task of multilateral discussion and issue identification promised in October, the statement said.

The CESR, established under auspices of the European Commission in 2001, includes a representative of every member state of the European Union. The securities authorities of Norway and Iceland, which aren’t members, also are represented at a senior level.

The round table included three panel discussions in which both regulators and industry officials participated: one concerning intermediaries, one on exchanges and one on end-users.

The CFTC and CESR expect that by March they will have a “draft work program to enhance transparency of regulatory and market information, to facilitate cross-border filings applications, and to improve the efficiency of regulatory oversight overall.” The statement said that this draft will be open to comment from interested parties for a period of six weeks, after which it will be finalized and a task force will set about exploring and implementing its various proposals according to a time frame that will be set out in the work program.

The acting chair of the CFTC, Sharon Brown-Hruska, thanked the CESR for its substantial efforts in hosting the meeting in Paris.

“I was pleased to help facilitate useful discussion of many practical issues that affect cross-border business and am optimistic that this round table, and the process it has initiated, will lead to practical steps that will expand the efficient execution of business on both sides of the Atlantic while also promoting stronger and more operational regulatory contacts,” she said.

She also had spoken of her hopes for international cooperation and a lowering of the burdens on cross-border trade in her address to a committee of the American Bar Association, Feb. 4, (see ).

The chair of the CESR, Arthur Docters van Leeuwen, was unable to attend the round table, the statement said. Nonetheless, it quoted his endorsement of the development of a regular dialogue with the CFTC “to keep pace with the fast moving nature of these markets.” He professed on behalf of the CFTC a “strong willingness to ensure our regulatory approaches reflect the international dimension of our markets.”

Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at: [email protected].