Futures and Derivatives
Futures and Derivatives Regulation and Documentation
Our Futures and Derivatives Practice focuses on the legal, compliance, transactional and regulatory needs of financial market participants and their dealings with the CFTC, the National Futures Association (NFA), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other agencies and self-regulatory organizations (SROs).
Our many regulatory alumni offer deep and comprehensive insight into the constellation of regulations and SRO rules affecting financial market participants. We have a long and successful record representing many of the largest domestic and international banks, broker-dealers, private equity firms, hedge funds and end users in a wide variety of legal, compliance, transactional and regulatory matters involving derivatives and other complex products.
Our experience includes:
- Advising domestic and foreign exchanges and clearinghouses on registration, operational compliance and cross-border access issues.
- Working with trading platform developers on structuring and regulatory compliance issues.
- Working with swap dealers, futures commission merchants and introducing brokers on registration, disclosure and other compliance matters.
- Advising commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisors and hedge funds on registration, disclosure and reporting.
- Advising end users on regulatory reporting, speculative position limits and trading issues.
- Advising on information barriers/conflicts of interest, sales practices, trading issues, and margin and net capital requirements.
- Working with clients to facilitate cross-border transactions, and assisting them in complying with—or gaining exemption from—US commodity futures and securities requirements.
- Representing banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, pension plans and corporations in the structuring, negotiation and documentation of a broad range of equity, fixed income, currency, commodity and credit derivatives—including the negotiation of International Swaps and Derivatives Association master agreements, trade confirmations, give-up arrangements and clearing agreements
- Representing both buy-side and sell-side market participants in the negotiation and documentation of credit support annexes compliant with global variation margin and initial margin regulations, as well as custody and account control arrangements.
- Representing banks and corporate clients in equity derivatives transactions, including accelerated share repurchases, equity forward contracts and call spreads in connection with convertible debt issuances.
Futures and Derivatives Enforcement
Recognized as “a force in handling high-stakes regulatory enforcement actions” (Chambers USA), WilmerHale has represented financial market participants in a wide range of regulatory examinations and administrative proceedings initiated by the CFTC, SEC, FINRA, NFA, and the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
We counsel many of the largest domestic and international banks, broker-dealers, private equity firms, hedge funds and end users in a range of enforcement proceedings, inquiries, compliance, and other regulatory matters involving derivatives. We also represent issuers, private companies, financial services firms and other market participants—and their officers, directors, boards, audit committees and special committees—when investigations reveal issues requiring the guidance of experienced futures and derivatives counsel. The firm is consistently ranked at the top of Global Investigations Review’s (GIR) list of the world’s 30 leading investigations and compliance practices.
Clients rely on the insight of a team that includes many lawyers who have held senior positions in government, and who participate regularly in investigations and matters brought by the CFTC. In addition to our Futures and Derivatives Practice chair, who joined the firm after a long tenure with the CFTC, our broader securities team includes lawyers who have held senior positions with the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and the SEC, and practitioners who have served as Deputy Attorney General and Solicitor General of the DOJ, and General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CFTC APPROVAL FOR NEW MARGINING SYSTEMWe helped a derivatives clearing organization obtain CFTC approval to implement a new clearinghouse margining system.
REVAMP OF EXCHANGE RULE BOOKOur team assisted a derivatives exchange with a major overhaul of its rule book.
SRO INVESTIGATIONSWe represented exchange members in investigations relating to trading conduct.
NATIONAL FUTURES ASSOCIATION AUDITWe represented a commodity pool operator in a regulatory audit by the National Futures Association (NFA), the self-regulatory organization of the futures industry. The NFA has the authority to discipline members and take other remedial actions.
USA–Nationwide Ranking for Derivatives
Nationally Recognized Firm for Derivatives and Futures Law
U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” List
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business—Capital Markets: Derivatives (2020) and Derivatives (2021) recognizes WilmerHale’s “notable derivatives practice with capabilities across a broad range of asset classes. Impressive regulatory practice includes advising on US and international futures trading compliance. Well placed to represent clients before the CFTC and SEC.” Clients note our “method of client service is impeccable.” They “appreciate the excellent cooperation and working relationship,” and acknowledge we “are very good at anticipating how regulators will view an issue" and are the “best outside counsel in terms of quality and advice.”
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2020) individually recognizes Paul Architzel in the Capital Markets: Derivatives (Nationwide) and Capital Markets: Derivatives: Mainly Regulatory categories, noting his “keen sense of how best to work and negotiate with regulators to pursue his clients’ goals.”
- Chambers Global: Leading Global Lawyer for Business (2020) individually recognizes Paul Architzel for his work in capital markets and derivatives.
- U.S. News – Best Lawyers® (2021) recognizes WilmerHale nationally and in Washington DC for Derivatives and Futures Law in its Best Law Firms list.