For Release: April 19, 1999
Applicability of New Definitions of "Exemptive," "No-Action" and "Interpretative" Letters
On December 10, 1998 the Commission published new Rule 140.99 setting forth procedures for submission of requests to the Commission staff for exemptive, no-action and interpretative letters. Included in the new rule are definitions of "Exemptive Letter, "No-Action Letter" and "Interpretative Letter" (collectively referred to as "Letters"). Under the new Rule 140.99:
This advisory is to clarify that these definitions and the corresponding distinctions as to scope and effect apply only to Letters issued on or after the effective date of Rule 140.99, January 11, 1999.
Prior to the adoption of Rule 140.99, Letters have been variously identified in publications in ways that may be inconsistent with the definitions set forth in Rule 140.99. For example, it has been the practice of at least one publication to describe all CFTC Letters generically as "interpretative letters" – including Letters that would not be considered "Interpretative Letters" under the new rule but would be considered "No-Action" or "Exemptive Letters." In order to avoid confusion, Commission staff cautions the public and practitioners in the field that it is the Commission staff’s denomination of a Letter as "Exemptive," "No-Action" or "Interpretative" that is controlling; how a particular publication labels a Letter has no legal effect. Moreover, since Rule 140.99 is prospective in effect, the distinctions between various types of Letters under the new rule apply only to Letters issued on or after January 11, 1999. With respect to letters that predate the effectiveness of Rule 140.99 and the new definitions, interested persons should look to the text of the letter itself when attempting to determine the nature of the letter, whom it binds and who may rely upon it, or should seek guidance from Commission staff.