CFTC History in the 2010s
January 14, 2010—The CFTC votes at an open meeting to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to set position limits for futures and option contracts in the major energy markets. (CFTC Press Release 5771-10, January 7, 2010).
March 25, 2010—The CFTC holds an open meeting to examine the trading of futures and options in the precious and base metals markets. (CFTC Press Release 5782-10, February 23, 2010).
April 3, 2010—The CFTC Launches a new web site along with supporting web 2.0 components. (CFTC Press Release 5804-10, April 3, 2010).
April 29, 2010—The CFTC issues an order filing and simultaneously settling (for a civil monetary penalty of $25 million among other things) charges that Moore Capital Management, LP, and various affiliated companies attempted to manipulate the settlement prices of platinum and palladium futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CFTC Press Release 5815-10, April 29, 2010). The CFTC settles similar charges with Moore trader Christopher L. Pia on July 25, 2011 (CFTC Press Release 6079-11, July 25, 2011).
May 6, 2010—Major stock indexes and stock index futures experience a brief but severe drop in
prices, falling more than 5% in a matter of minutes, only to recover a short time later. Some individual securities experience more volatility than the stock indexes. (Statement by SEC and CFTC, May 6, 2010)
May 24, 2010—The newly formed Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee on Emerging Regulatory Issues holds its first meeting. (CFTC Press Release 5823-10, May 17, 2010).
June 14, 2010—The CFTC approves the first futures contracts based on motion picture box office receipts after finding that the terms and conditions of Media Derivatives, Inc.’s proposed Weekend Motion Picture Revenue futures and options contracts do not violate the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations. However, the Dodd-Frank Act contains provisions that ban futures contracts based on motion picture box office receipts. (CFTC Press Release 5834-10, June 14, 2010).
July 21, 2010— President Obama signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”). Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act amends the Commodity Exchange Act to establish a comprehensive new regulatory framework for swaps and security-based swaps. The legislation is enacted to reduce risk, increase transparency, and promote market integrity within the financial system by, among other things: 1) providing for the registration and comprehensive regulation of swap dealers and major swap participants; 2) imposing clearing and trade execution requirements on standardized derivative products; 3) creating robust recordkeeping and real-time reporting regimes; and 4) enhancing the Commission’s rulemaking and enforcement authorities with respect to, among others, all registered entities and intermediaries subject to the Commission’s oversight. On the same day, the CFTC releases a list of 30 areas of rulemaking to implement the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Releases 5855-10 and 5856-10, July 21, 2010).
August 16, 2010—The CFTC sanctions ConAgra Trade Group, Inc. (CTG) $12 Million for causing a non-bona fide price to be reported in the NYMEX Crude Oil futures contract. On January 2, 2008, CTG was the first to purchase NYMEX crude oil futures contracts at the then-historic price of $100. As a result of CTG’s effort to be the first to trade at the $100 level, CTG caused a non-bona fide price to be reported, according to the CFTC order. (CFTC Press Release 5873-10, August 16, 2010).
October 1, 2010—The CFTC holds the first of many open meetings to consider the issuance of proposed rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Release 5901-10, September 21, 2010)
October 1, 2010—The staffs of the CFTC and SEC release a joint report presenting their findings regarding the market events of May 6, 2010. (CFTC Press Release 5912-10, October 1, 2010)
May 24, 2011—The CFTC charges Parnon Energy Inc., Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. and Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA, along with two traders, with price manipulation in the crude oil market.
The complaint alleges cross-market trading scheme in 2008 involving accumulation and sell-off of a substantial position in physical crude oil to manipulate futures prices, yielding in excess of $50 million in unlawful profits for defendants. (CFTC Press Release 6041-11, May 24, 2011)
July 7, 2011—The CFTC holds the first of many open meetings to finalize rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act, including new rules regarding the prohibition on manipulative trading and the definition of agricultural commodity. (CFTC Press Release 6064-11, June 30, 2011)
July 19, 2011—The CFTC files and simultaneously settles charges that Ecoval Dairy Trade, Inc. attempted to manipulate the daily settlement prices of non-fat dry milk cash-settled futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The CFTC order requires Ecoval to pay a $1,425,000 civil monetary penalty. (CFTC Press Release 6075-11, July 19, 2011)
August 4, 2011—The CFTC holds an open meeting to, among other things, issue final rules regarding registration and core principles for swap data repositories, a new type of registered entity created by the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Release 6085-11, July 28, 2011)
October 18, 2011—The CFTC holds an open meeting where it issues a final rule implementing position limits for futures and swaps in a variety of agricultural, metal, and energy commodities. (CFTC Press Release 6124-11, October 11, 2011)
October 31, 2011—MF Global, a futures commission merchant and broker-dealer, declares bankruptcy and reports deficiencies in customer futures segregated accounts held at the firm. The bankruptcy trustee later reports that up to $1.6 billion in customer funds were missing. (CFTC-SEC Statement on MF Global, October 31, 2011).
December 20, 2011—The CFTC holds an open meeting to, among other things, issue final rules on real-time reporting of swap transaction data and swap data recordkeeping and reporting requirements as part of the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Release 6157-11, December 13, 2011)
March 14, 2012—The CFTC charges Joseph F. Welsh III in federal court with attempted manipulation of the prices of palladium and platinum futures contracts, including the settlement prices. According to the complaint, while working as a broker at MF Global Inc., Welsh employed a manipulative scheme commonly known as “banging the close.” Welsh is also charged with aiding and abetting Christopher L. Pia, who had settled similar charges with the CFTC on July 25, 2011. (CFTC Press Release 6210-12, March 14, 2012)
April 18, 2012—The CFTC holds an open meeting to, among other things, issue a final rule (joint with the SEC) to further define the terms “Swap Dealer,” “Security-Based Swap Dealer,” “Major Swap Participant,” “Major Security-Based Swap Participant,” and “Eligible Contract Participant.” as part of the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Release 6228-12, April 11, 2012).
June 27, 2012—The CFTC orders Barclays Bank to pay a $200 million penalty for
attempting to manipulate the LIBOR and Euribor benchmark interest rates and making related false reports to benefit its derivatives trading positions. The CFTC order also finds that Barclays made false LIBOR reports at the direction of members of senior management to protect its reputation during the global financial crisis of 2008. (CFTC Press Release 6289-12, June 27, 2012)
July 10, 2012—The CFTC holds an open meeting to, among other things, issue a final rule (joint with the SEC) to further define the terms “swap” and “security based swap” as part of the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Release 6295-12, July 3, 2012)
September 28, 2012—The U.S. district court for the District of Columbia vacates the CFTC’s rule implementing position limits for futures and swaps. On November 15, 2012, the CFTC appeals that ruling. (CFTC Press Release 6413-12, November 15, 2012)
November 28, 2012—The CFTC issues new rules to require certain credit default swaps and interest rate swaps to be cleared by derivatives clearing organizations (DCOs). The rules establish the first clearing determination by the Commission under the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the rules, market participants are required to submit a swap that is identified in the rule for clearing by a DCO as soon as technologically practicable and no later than the end of the day of execution. (CFTC Press Release 6429-12, November 28, 2012)
December 4, 2012—The CFTC files a complaint in federal court that Eric Moncada, BES Capital LLC, and Serdika LLC attempted to manipulate wheat futures prices, and engaged in fictitious sales and non-competitive transactions. According to the complaint, Moncada’s scheme was to electronically enter and immediately cancel numerous large-lot orders for wheat futures that he did not intend to fill, but that he intended to use to create a misleading impression of increasing liquidity in the marketplace. Moncada would then allegedly seek to take advantage of any price movements that may have resulted from this manipulative scheme by placing smaller orders, which he hoped to fill at prices beneficial to him, on the opposite side of market from his large-lot cancelled orders. On October 1, 2014, a federal court orders Moncada to pay a civil monetary penalty of $1.56 million. (CFTC Press Release 6441-12, December 4, 2012 and CFTC Press Release 7026-14, October 1, 2014)
December 19, 2012—The CFTC orders UBS, a Swiss bank, to pay a $700 million penalty to settle charges of manipulation, attempted manipulation and false reporting of LIBOR and other benchmark interest rates. In summary, the CFTC’s Order finds that for at least six years UBS regularly tried to manipulate (and at times successfully manipulated) multiple benchmark interest rates for profit, and that there were more than 2,000 instances of unlawful conduct involving dozens of UBS employees, including colluding with other panel banks, inducing interdealer brokers to spread false information and influence other banks; and the making of false LIBOR submissions to protect its reputation during the global financial crisis. (CFTC Press Release 6472-12, December 19, 2012)
December 31, 2012—Swap dealer registration and real-time reporting of swaps transactions begin, pursuant to reforms enacted in the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Release 6489-13, January 2, 2013)
January 31, 2013—The CFTC hosts a public roundtable to discuss the “Futurization of Swaps.”
(CFTC Press Release 6500-13, January 18, 2013)
February 6, 2013—In its third LIBOR-related action, the CFTC orders The Royal Bank of Scotland and RBS Securities Japan to pay a $325 million civil monetary penalty to settle charges of manipulation, attempted manipulation, and false reporting of yen and Swiss franc LIBOR. (CFTC Press Release 6510-13, February 6, 2013)
March 11, 2013—Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, mandatory clearing of certain index credit default swaps and interest rate swaps begins for swap dealers, major swap participants and private funds active in the swaps market. Mandatory clearing subsequently begins for additional entities on June 10, 2013. (CFTC Press Release 6529-13, March 11, 2013 and (CFTC Press Release 6607-13, June 10, 2013)
May 16, 2013—The CFTC holds an open meeting where it finalizes rules to implement the
“pre-trade” transparency module including: (1) Procedures to Establish Appropriate Minimum Block Sizes for Large Notional Off-Facility Swaps and Block Trades (Swaps Block Rule),
(2) Process for a Designated Contract Market or Swap Execution Facility to Make a Swap Available to Trade under the trade execution requirement of the Commodity Exchange Act; (Made Available to Trade Rule); and (3) Core Principles and Other Requirements for Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs). (CFTC Press Release 6585-13, May 9, 2013)
June 25, 2013—The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholds a CFTC rulemaking (CFTC Press Release 6176-12, February 9, 2012) revising CFTC rule 4.5 to require certain SEC-registered investment companies that also function as commodity pool operators to register with the CFTC as well as the SEC. See Investment Company Institute and U.S. Chamber Of Commerce v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
June 27, 2013—The CFTC files and simultaneously settles charges in U.S. District Court against MF Global and its former CEO Jon S. Corzine and former employee Edith O’Brien of , among other violations, MF Global’s unlawful use of customer funds that harmed thousands of customers and violated fundamental customer protection laws on an unprecedented scale. The settlement, subject to court approval, directs payment of all funds still owed to commodity customers and imposes a $100 million penalty against the company. (CFTC Press Release 6626-13, June 27, 2013)
July 12, 2013—The CFTC holds an open meeting where it finalizes cross-border interpretive guidance, a policy statement, and a cross-border phase-in exemptive order regarding compliance with certain swap regulations. (CFTC Press Release 6638-13, July 5, 2013)
July 22, 2013—The CFTC fines Panther Energy Trading LLC and its principal Michael J. Coscia $1.4 million for engaging in the disruptive practice of “spoofing,” that is, utilizing a computer algorithm that was designed to illegally place and quickly cancel bids and offers in futures contracts across a broad spectrum of commodities from August 8, 2011 through October 18, 2011 on CME Group’s Globex trading platform. (CFTC Press Release 6649-13, July 22, 2013)
September 9, 2013—The CFTC approves for publication in the Federal Register a Concept Release on Risk Controls and System Safeguards for Automated Trading Environments. The Concept Release provides an overview of the automated trading environment and discusses and requests public comment on a series of (1) pre-trade risk controls; (2) post trade reports and other measures; (3) system safeguards related to the design, testing and supervision of automated trading systems; and (4) additional protections designed to promote safe and orderly markets. (CFTC Press Release 6683-13, September 9, 2013)
October 2, 2013—Trading begins on temporarily registered swap execution facilities as the SEF core principle rulemaking goes into effect.
November 15, 2013—The CFTC re-proposes position limits in various physical commodities. (CFTC Press Release 6763-13, November 5, 2013).
December 10, 2013—Five federal agencies, including the CFTC, issue final rules developed jointly to implement section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act (the “Volcker Rule”). The final rules prohibit insured depository institutions and their affiliates from engaging in short-term proprietary trading of certain securities, derivatives, commodity futures and options on these instruments, for their own account. The final rules also impose limits on these entities’ investments in, and other relationships with, hedge funds or private equity funds. (CFTC Press Release 6790-13, December 10, 2013).
February 15, 2014, February 21, 2014 and February 26, 2014—Made available-to-trade (MAT) determinations for certain interest rate swap and credit default swap contracts go into effect. Those swaps therefore become subject to the trade execution mandate and must, with certain exceptions, be traded on a SEF or DCM. (CFTC Press Release 6831-14, January 16, 2014, CFTC Press Release 6838-14, January 23, 2014, CFTC Press Release 6841-14, January 28, 2014, and CFTC Press Release 6843-14, January 30, 2014).
May 20, 2014—The CFTC issues its first whistleblower reward under the whistleblower program created by the Dodd-Frank Act. The reward is approximately $240,000 for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. (CFTC Press Release 6933-14, May 20, 2014).
July 28, 2014—The CFTC files and simultaneously settles charges against Lloyds Banking Group plc and Lloyds Bank plc (formerly Lloyds TSB), for acts of false reporting and attempted manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) for sterling, U.S. dollar, and yen. The order finds that, in a few instances, Lloyds TSB was successful in its manipulation of sterling and yen LIBOR. The order imposes a civil monetary penalty of $105 million. (CFTC Press Release 6966-14, July 28, 2014).
September 15, 2014—The CFTC enters into a consent order settling charges brought against Brian Hunter, resident of Calgary, Alberta, for attempting to manipulate the price of natural gas futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) during the expiry on February 24 and April 26, 2006. The consent order arises from a The consent Order arises from a CFTC complaint filed on July 25, 2007. (CFTC Press Release 7000-14, September 15, 2014).
September 16, 2014—A judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismisses a lawsuit by three Wall Street trade groups claiming that the CFTC overstepped its authority in issuing new rules and guidance related to overseas swaps transactions. The judge also directs the CFTC to reconsider the costs and benefits of certain previously implemented rules in a cross-border context, but those remain in effect while the CFTC does so.
November 12, 2014—The CFTC orders five banks, Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS, to pay over $1.4 billion in penalties for attempted manipulation of, and for aiding and abetting other banks’ attempts to manipulate, global foreign exchange benchmark rates to benefit the positions of certain traders. (CFTC Press Release 7056-14, November 12, 2014).
April 1, 2015—The CFTC charges Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and Mondelēz Global LLC, with manipulation and attempted manipulation of the prices of cash wheat and wheat futures. The complaint also alleges that Kraft and Mondelēz violated speculative position limits and engaged in numerous noncompetitive trades in CBOT wheat futures. (CFTC Press Release 7150-15, April 1, 2015).
April 21, 2015—The CFTC unseals a complaint against Navinder Singh Sarao and his proprietary trading firm Nav Sarao Futures Limited. The complaint charges Sarao with unlawfully manipulating, attempting to manipulate, and spoofing (placing orders with the intent to cancel before execution) in the E-mini S&P 500 near month futures contract (E-mini S&P). Sarao is arrested in the U.K. and the Department of Justice unseals its own criminal complaint charging Sarao with the same misconduct. According to the Complaint, for over five years, Sarao engaged in a massive effort to manipulate the price of the E-mini S&P by utilizing a variety of exceptionally large, aggressive, and persistent spoofing tactics on over 400 trading days. (CFTC Press Release 7156-15, April 21, 2015).
April 23, 2015—The CFTC orders Deutsche Bank to pay an $800 million penalty to settle charges of manipulation, attempted manipulation, and false reporting of the LIBOR and Euribor interest rate benchmarks. This is the largest fine in CFTC history to date. (CFTC Press Release 7159-15, April 23, 2015).
May 20, 2015—The CFTC orders Barclays Bank to pay a $400 million fine to settle CFTC charges of attempted manipulation and false reporting of foreign exchange benchmark rates and separately orders Barclays to pay a $115 million fine to settle charges of attempted manipulation and false reporting of U.S. dollar ISDAFIX benchmark swap rates. This is in addition to the $200 million fine previously imposed on Barclays on June 27, 2012 attempting to manipulate the LIBOR and Euribor benchmark interest rates. (CFTC Press Release 7180-15 and CFTC Press Release 7181-15, May 20, 2015).
July 13, 2015— Staff from the Department of Treasury, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the CFTC issue a joint report analyzing the significant volatility in the U.S. Treasury market on October 15, 2014. Using non-public data from the U.S. Treasury cash and futures markets, the joint report provides detailed analysis of the market conditions and record trading volumes that day, including an unusually rapid round trip in prices and deterioration in liquidity during a narrow window. (CFTC Press Release 7197-15, July 13, 2015).
September 17, 2015—The CFTC orders bitcoin options trading platform operator Coinflip, Inc. and its CEO to cease illegally offering bitcoin options and to cease operating a facility for trading or processing of swaps without registering. In this first action against an unregistered bitcoin options trading platform, the CFTC holds that bitcoin and other virtual currencies are a commodity covered by the Commodity Exchange Act. (CFTC Press Release 7231-15, September 17, 2015).