NFA steps up segregation rulemaking

Following MF Global’s debacle NFA and CFTC are seeking ways to strengthen client funds protection. One of the obvious ways of doing

Following MF Global’s debacle NFA and CFTC are seeking ways to strengthen client funds protection. One of the obvious ways of doing that is the segregation requirement which for instance didn’t exist for forex brokers until now. This will soon change.

Forex Magnates sources also reveal that CFTC may soon enact a much more limiting rule which will require brokers to keep client funds with custodian banks. While from first glance this may make sense the problem is that this will further increase the extremely high compliance costs for American brokers and make dealing with clients even more burdensome.

Futures industry SRO committee announces initial recommendations to strengthen current safeguards for customer segregated funds

A special committee composed of representatives from the futures industry’s self-regulatory organizations (SRO) has proposed a series of initial recommendations for changes to SRO rules and regulatory practices designed to strengthen current safeguards for customer segregated and secured funds held at the firm level in light of the MF Global bankruptcy.

The four recommendations include:

  • Requiring all Futures Commission Merchants (FCM) to file daily segregation and secured reports. This will provide SROs with an additional means of monitoring firm compliance with segregation and secured requirements and a risk management tool to track trends or fluctuations in the amount of customer funds firms are holding and the amount of excess segregated and secured funds maintained by the firms.
  • Requiring all FCMs to file Segregation Investment Detail Reports, reflecting how customer segregated and secured funds are invested and where those funds are held. These reports would be filed bimonthly and will enhance monitoring of how FCMs are investing customer segregated and secured funds.
  • Performing more frequent periodic spot checks to monitor FCM compliance with segregation and secured requirements. FCMs are audited each year by both their DSRO and their outside accountant.
  • Requiring a principal of the FCM to approve any disbursement of customer segregated and secured funds not made for the benefit of customers and that exceed 25% of the firm’s excess segregated or secured funds. The firm would also be required to provide immediate notice to its SROs.

Dan Roth, president of NFA, stated that “The committee believes that these recommendations will provide regulators with better tools to monitor firms for compliance with segregation and secured requirements and strengthen the industry’s customer protection regime. These are our initial recommendations. We will continue to work with the CFTC and the industry as we consider additional improvements.”

The special committee, formed in January 2012 in response to the MF Global bankruptcy, includes representatives from CME Group, NFA, InterContinental Exchange, Kansas City Board of Trade and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.

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