US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Developments

Anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers strengthened; award claims review process enhanced. The CFTC announced that it has unanimously approved amendments to its whistleblower rules. Based on a reinterpretation of the CFTC’s anti-retaliation authority under the CEA, the CFTC or the whistleblower can now bring an action against an employer for retaliation against a whistleblower. The amendments also bar employers from taking steps to block a would-be whistleblower from communicating directly with CFTC staff about a possible violation of the CEA by using a confidentiality, pre-dispute arbitration or similar agreement. (5/22/2017) Fact Sheet: Strengthening Anti-Retaliation Protections for Whistleblowers and Enhancing the Award Claims Review ProcessFederal Register: Whistleblower Awards Process.

LabCFTC launched as major FinTech initiative. The CFTC announced that it has approved the creation of LabCFTC, a new initiative aimed at promoting responsible FinTech innovation to improve the quality, resiliency, and competitiveness of the markets the CFTC oversees. (5/17/2017) See Address of CFTC Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo before the New York FinTech Innovation Lab. Also see Statement of CFTC Commissioner Sharon Y. Bowen on the Launch of LabCFTC.

No-action relief extended for Shanghai Clearing House. The CFTC’s Division of Clearing and Risk announced that it has issued a no-action letter extending the relief provided to the Shanghai Clearing House (SHCH) in CFTC Letter 16-56, which expires on May 31, 2017. The extension will last until the earlier of November 30, 2017, or the date on which the CFTC exempts SHCH from registration as a DCO. Pursuant to the letter, the DCR will not recommend that the CFTC take enforcement action against SHCH for failing to register as a DCO pursuant to Section 5b(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act in light of SHCH’s pending petition for an exemption from registration as a DCO. SHCH is also permitted to clear certain swaps subject to mandatory clearing in the People’s Republic of China for the proprietary trades of SHCH clearing members that are US persons or affiliates of US persons. (5/16/2017)