Strategic Goal Two
Protect the public and market participants by ensuring the financial integrity of derivatives transactions, mitigation of systemic risk, and the fitness and soundness of intermediaries and other registrants.
Net Cost: $43.7 Million
Staffing: 155 FTE
In fostering financially sound markets, the Commission's main priorities are to avoid disruptions to the system for clearing and settling contract obligations and to protect the funds that customers entrust to FCMs. Clearing organizations and FCMs are integral to the financial integrity of derivatives transactions - together, they protect against the financial difficulties of one trader becoming a systemic problem. Several aspects of the regulatory framework that contribute to the Commission achieving Goal Two are: 1) requiring that market participants post margin to secure their ability to fulfill financial obligations; 2) requiring participants on the losing side of trades to meet their obligations, in cash, through daily (sometimes intraday) margin calls; 3) requiring FCMs to maintain minimum levels of operating capital; and, 4) requiring FCMs to segregate customer funds from their own funds.
The Commission works with the exchanges and the NFA to closely monitor the financial condition of the FCMs themselves, who must provide the Commission, exchanges and NFA with various monthly and annual financial reports. The exchanges and NFA conduct routine, periodic audits and daily financial surveillance of their respective member FCMs. As a regulator, the Commission reviews the audit and financial surveillance programs of the exchanges and NFA and also monitors the financial condition of FCMs directly, as appropriate. This includes reviewing each FCM's exposure to risk from large customer positions that it carries. The Commission also conducts extensive daily surveillance of risks posed by traders, firms and DCOs and periodically reviews clearing organization procedures for monitoring risks and protecting customer funds.
The Commission works with the NFA to ensure that those seeking registration as intermediaries meet high qualification and fitness standards through the registration process. The Commission also drafts and interprets rules that apply to the conduct of business by these intermediaries.
With the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Commission has substantially greater responsibilities, including oversight of newly registered derivatives dealers, as well as implementation of enhanced compliance requirements for intermediaries and new core principle requirements for DCOs. The Commission also will be responsible for determining the initial eligibility or the continuing qualification of a DCO to clear swaps, as well as for the review of swaps submitted to the Commission for a determination as to whether the swaps are required to be cleared. The Commission also will be implementing new statutory provisions regarding review of new rules and rule amendments submitted by DCOs. In addition, the scope of the Commission's reviews of DCOs, designated self-regulatory organizations, and intermediaries will be expanded to include swap transactions and swap intermediaries.