CFTC extends comment period on draft technical specifications for certain swap data elements. The CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight and Office of Data and Technology staff extended the comment period for the draft technical specifications for certain prioritized swap data elements and associated questions to March 7, 2016. The request for comment seeks public input on 80 questions addressing 120 data elements for several swap data reporting topics including counterparty-related elements, price, clearing, product, periodic reporting, orders, package transactions, options, additional fixed payments, notional amount, events, rates and foreign exchange. (2/18/2016) CFTC press release.

Division of Market Oversight provides time-limited no-action relief for end users from the Form TO filing requirement. The DMO has issued a no-action letter that gives time-limited relief for end users from the Form TO filing requirement pursuant to CFTC regulations. Under CFTC Regulation 32.3(b)(2), counterparties to trade options that are not required to be reported to a swap data repository have to submit a Form TO filing by March 1st following the end of any calendar year during which they entered into one or more unreported trade options. (2/18/2016) CFTC press release.

CFTC provides no-action relief from registration to certain intermediaries located outside the US. The CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight issued no-action relief from registration for persons located outside the US who act as Introducing Brokers, Commodity Trading Advisors, or Commodity Pool Operators in connection with swaps that are not subject to a CFTC clearing requirement on behalf of persons located outside of the US. This relief allows certain intermediaries to take advantage of the exemption from registration in CFTC Regulation 3.10(c)(3)(i), without meeting the condition that those intermediaries submit commodity interest transactions for clearing through registered Futures Commission Merchants in connection with swaps that are not required to be cleared. (2/12/2016) CFTC press release.

CFTC designates National Futures Association as a recipient of SDR data. The CFTC issued an Order authorizing the National Futures Association (NFA), which is the only registered futures association (RFA) that is registered with the CFTC, to be a designee to receive access to data maintained by swap data repositories (SDRs). As a condition to the Order, access and use is limited to SDR data that will facilitate the NFA’s performance of functions delegated to it by the CFTC and other duties that the NFA performs as an RFA. (2/12/2016) CFTC press release.

CFTC and EC’s common approach for transatlantic central clearing counterparties. CFTC Chair Timothy Massad and European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union Jonathan Hill announced a common approach concerning requirements for central clearing counterparties (CCPs). Following this agreement, the European Commission intends to adopt an equivalence decision with respect to CFTC requirements for US CCPs, which will allow ESMA to recognize US CCPs as soon as possible. (2/10/2016) CFTC press release. See also European Commission press release.