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CFTC Further Extends Certain No-Action Relief To Market Participants In Response To COVID-19

Date 11/09/2020

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) and the Division of Market Oversight (DMO) are further extending certain elements of the temporary no-action relief issued in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that are set to expire on September 30, 2020. The extended relief expires January 15, 2021.

“This time-limited extension recognizes the reality that work-from-home arrangements have become commonplace and will be standard operating practices indefinitely for many firms,” said DSIO Director Joshua Sterling and DMO Director Dorothy DeWitt. “We understand that, during the time of this second extension, registrants will be able to complete the final steps necessary to come into full compliance with CFTC regulations, such as those related to voice recordings and time-stamps. If our understanding is somehow mistaken, we expect that firms or their representatives will notify us immediately of what specific measures will require more time than we have allotted in this second extension. The bar for DSIO and DMO granting a third extension will be quite high.”

Subject to the conditions stated in the no-action letter, the relief provided is as follows:

  • Relief for Registrants and Members of Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs), and Designated Contract Markets (DCMs). DSIO is extending targeted no-action relief for affected firms from CFTC regulations requiring recording of oral communications related to voice trading and other telephonic communications, as well as time-stamping requirements when located in remote, socially-distanced locations.
  • Relief for SEFs and DCMs. DMO is extending targeted no-action relief for SEFs and DCMs from certain CFTC regulations regarding audit trails, recording of oral communications, and related requirements as a result of the displacement of trading personnel from their normal business sites.

On March 17, 2020, DSIO and DMO granted targeted, temporary relief to a broad spectrum of market participants to support orderly trading and liquidity as they implemented social distancing measures. [See CFTC Press Release Nos. 8132-20 and 8133-20] To date, the CFTC has taken 20 actions to provide market participants targeted, temporary relief in response to the pandemic.

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