Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday passed legislation, on a 30-24 party-line vote, delaying by 15 months implementation of derivatives regulations as set forth in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Barney Frank, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement after the vote saying that the GOP bill, H.R. 1573—which was passed "over the unanimous objection of committee Democrats"—was originally written to prohibit implementation of the derivatives rules until Dec. 31, 2012, after the 2012 elections. “After coming under criticism from committee Democrats, Republicans offered and passed an amendment which would push the date up until September 30, 2012, only thirty-seven days before the November election,” Frank said.
Frank noted that the “reckless use of derivatives contributed to the downfall of AIG and fueled the liquidity crisis which imperiled many of the nation’s largest financial institutions.” The bill, he said, “represents a third wave of attack on the financial reform law by House Republicans.”
Dodd-Frank gives the SEC and CFTC authority to regulate the use of derivatives, and requires the migration of some or all derivatives trading from over-the-counter into exchanges or execution facilities, which is meant to provide transparency as well as provide details of the transaction, including price. Frank noted in his statement that Dodd-Frank “is designed to minimize the risk of financial contagion of the sort caused by AIG, by requiring that participants in derivatives markets have sufficient capital to support their trades.”
Dan Berkovitz, general counsel for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), noted at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) annual conference in Washington on Wednesday, that the CFTC has completed the “initial phase” of rulemakings under Title 7 of Dodd-Frank regarding regulation of derivatives. The proposed rules cover everything from who is a swaps dealer, to registration and capital and margin requirements, to clearing rules, Berkovitz said.
The CFTC, he continued, has extended all of the comment periods on its swaps proposals, and will look to start promulgation of the final rules this summer. Berkovitz’s said the CFTC anticipates a “phased implementation” schedule to flow from the rules.
The agriculture subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to take up on Tuesday legislation crafted by House Republicans which would cut the CFTC's budget by 15%.