Futures and Derivatives SECURITIES

WilmerHale’s futures and derivatives practice focuses on advising firm clients on rulemaking, compliance and enforcement regarding futures and derivatives, including advising clients with respect to the recent regulatory reform mandates which provide for extensive new regulations of the swaps and over-the-counter derivatives markets.

Our practice provides advice on all facets of US commodity futures and securities regulatory issues, including the regulation of futures exchanges and clearinghouses, commodity pools and commodity trading advisors, and futures commission merchants. We also advise our clients with respect to the clearing and trading of over-the-counter derivatives, including advising investment banks on the margin of capital effects of different types of derivatives, and market end-users with respect to issues they face in the markets.

Our team—led by the former General Counsel and Chief Counsel, Division of Economic Analysis at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)—handles complex matters involving the overlapping jurisdiction of securities and futures regulations, as well as compliance issues facing financial market participants. Partnering with our enforcement and litigation colleagues, we are well positioned to handle a wide variety of enforcement matters and practice actively before the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We also work with clients to facilitate cross-border transactions and assist clients in complying with, or gaining exemption from, US commodity futures and securities requirements.

WilmerHale represents many of the largest domestic and international banks, broker-dealers, private equity, hedge funds and end users in a wide variety of legal, compliance and regulatory matters involving derivatives. The futures and derivatives practice focuses primarily on the regulatory needs of financial market participants and their dealings with the CFTC, National Futures Association, SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and other regulators. We have advised on many areas relating to derivatives and other complex products, including information barriers/conflicts of interest, sales practice, trading issues, margin, and net capital requirements.

In addition, we represent a wide variety of clients, including banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, insurance companies and corporations in the structuring, negotiation and documentation of a broad range of equity, fixed income, currency, commodity and credit derivatives. This practice includes the negotiation of International Swaps and Derivatives Association master agreements, trade confirmations and custody and account control arrangements to protect end-user assets in the event of a dealer insolvency. We represent hedge funds in the negotiation of the full range of trading agreements, including prime brokerage, term financing, securities lending and repurchase agreements. We also assist clients with respect to brokerage arrangements, compliance programs, disclosure requirements and fund management.

WilmerHale’s futures and derivatives practice focuses on advising firm clients on rulemaking, compliance and enforcement regarding futures and derivatives, including advising clients with respect to the recent regulatory reform mandates which provide for extensive new regulations of the swaps and over-the-counter derivatives markets.

Our practice provides advice on all facets of US commodity futures and securities regulatory issues, including the regulation of futures exchanges and clearinghouses, commodity pools and commodity trading advisors, and futures commission merchants. We also advise our clients with respect to the clearing and trading of over-the-counter derivatives, including advising investment banks on the margin of capital effects of different types of derivatives, and market end-users with respect to issues they face in the markets.

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Publications & News

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January 26, 2016

2015 CFTC Year-in-Review, and a Look Forward

CFTC continues to bring high-profile, large-penalty enforcement cases; begins bringing cases to enforce Dodd-Frank Act implementing regulations; and embarks on post-Dodd-Frank Act regulatory initiatives.

December 22, 2015

FERC Investigations and Enforcement Remain Focused on Market Manipulation

The Office of Enforcement (OE) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently released its annual report for the past fiscal year. The report provides FY2015 statistics on the investigative and enforcement activities conducted by the OE's four divisions—Investigations, Audits and Accounting, Energy Market Oversight, and Analytics and Surveillance.

December 15, 2015

CFTC Proposes “Regulation AT” for Automated Trading

On November 24, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) proposed a new regulatory regime for automated trading on US designated contract markets (DCM) (Regulation AT or the proposal).

November 11, 2015

FERC Extends Comment Period on Proposal to Expand Reporting Requirements for Power Market Participants

On September 17, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposed a rule requiring wholesale electricity buyers and sellers (participants in markets run by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) or Independent System Operators (ISOs)) to file information on each of their “Connected Entities”—even if those connected entities do not participate in the ISO/RTO markets. This is a potentially significant step in FERC’s efforts to expand its investigative and enforcement capabilities.

November 2, 2015

WilmerHale Receives Top Rankings, Named “Law Firm of the Year” in Mutual Funds Law in 2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” List

U.S. News - Best Lawyers® has named WilmerHale "Law Firm of the Year" in Mutual Funds Law and recognizes the firm as a first-tier law firm in 21 national and 58 metro-area rankings. In addition, the firm boasts more than 30 second- and third-tier rankings.

October 23, 2015

Status of NFA's Section 4s Reviews and Swap Dealer Examinations

The National Futures Association (NFA), the self-regulatory organization for the US derivatives industry, processes registrations as the delegee for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Swap dealer applications are filed with the NFA, together with the swap dealer’s policies, procedures and other documentation required to demonstrate the entity’s ability to comply with swap dealer obligations under Section 4s of the Commodity Exchange Act and the CFTC’s implementing regulations. The CFTC has delegated to the NFA the processing of Section 4s Submissions to determine whether they demonstrate that the applicant for registration is able to comply with the Section 4s Requirements. Swap dealers are also required to become NFA members and, as such, become subject to NFA examinations. This memorandum describes the status of the registration and examination process, as well as the NFA’s new Continuous Monitoring Program.

September 29, 2015

CFTC Updates Position Limits Rule

On September 22, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) unanimously approved the publication of a “supplemental” proposed rule on position limits. The supplemental proposal would modify the requirements in the proposed rules regarding the aggregation of positions subject to the Commission’s speculative position limits. Specifically, the proposal would modify the eligibility criteria and simplify the process for claiming an exemption from the aggregation requirements for owners of more than 50 percent of another entity.

July 27, 2015

A Bold New Regulatory Landscape for Research: SEC Approves FINRA Rules Addressing Conflicts of Interest for Equity and Debt Research

More than ten years after the Global Research Settlement and the adoption of NASD Rule 2711, the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved new FINRA rules addressing conflicts of interest for both equity and debt research analysts and research reports.

April 30, 2015

SEC Proposes Rules to Oversee Non-US Firms’ Swap Activity in the United States

On April 29, 2015, the US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new rules to enhance its oversight of non-US firms’ security-based swap activity in the United States.

April 13, 2015

Report Highlights Bank Vendor Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

On April 9, the New York State Department of Financial Services released a report on bank vendor cybersecurity that highlights the risk that hackers will use third-party service providers to gain access to bank data.