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Isda wants US slowdown on swap rules

Tuesday 12 July 2011 - by Andrew Hickley

Global regulators must harmonise new rules for trade repositories before setting their sights on more ambitious derivatives regulations, argues the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.

Stepping up the group's attack on the Dodd Frank Act, Isda urges US regulators to stick to G20 agreements to clear standardised derivatives traded on OTC markets.

US attempts to draft new rules for exchange-traded swaps must be delayed until countries have undertaken the G20 reforms already agreed, Isda argues.

It also calls for global cooperation to be stepped up in an effort to apply consistent rules for market participants.

"This 'G20 plus' portion of DFA [Dodd Frank Act] has meant that rules for an entire marketplace need to be fashioned from scratch and, amazingly, put into place within a year - at the same time as the G20 safety and soundness commitments must also be put into place," Isda chief executive Conrad Voldstad and executive vice chairman Robert Pickel wrote on the membership body's website on Monday.

The pair argue that regulations ensuring that trades are reported to regulators must be put in place before any additional changes are made.

This is in order to avoid "a plethora of clearing houses and trade repositories, overlapping jurisdictional claims, and, now a host of market structure issues that have little, if anything, to do with safety and soundness".

The lack of global cooperation has seen an "inordinate amount of effort" by regulators and market participants but has led to "insufficient progress" on improving safety in markets, they argue.

"We think there's a better way. Global regulators should first agree on rules for clearing and clearing houses and for trade repositories and focus on no other tasks until this is done.

"It might be a better way to make the markets safer and more efficient, something Isda has been working on for 26 years."

Last week Isda, among with numerous EU trade bodies, wrote to regulators including US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and EU commissioner for internal markets and services Michel Barnier demanding that more effort is put in to streamline global rules.

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