[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 227 (Tuesday, November 24, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 74861-74864]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-24659]



17 CFR Part 30

Foreign Futures and Options Transactions

AGENCY: Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

ACTION: Order.


SUMMARY: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission or CFTC)
is granting an exemption to certain member firms designated by the
National Stock Exchange International Financial Service Centre Limited
(NSE IFSC) from the application of certain of the Commission's foreign
futures and option regulations based upon substituted compliance with
certain comparable regulatory and self-regulatory requirements of a
foreign regulatory authority consistent with conditions specified by
the Commission, as set forth herein. This Order is issued pursuant to
Commission regulation 30.10, which permits persons to file a petition
with the Commission for exemption from the application of certain of
the regulations set forth in part 30 and authorizes the Commission to
grant such an exemption if such action would not be otherwise contrary
to the public interest or to the purposes of the provision from which
exemption is sought. The Commission notes that this Order does not
pertain to any transaction in swaps, as defined in Section 1a(47) of
the Commodity Exchange Act (Act).

DATES: This Order is effective November 24, 2020.

Counsel, (202) 418-5465, [email protected], or C. Barry McCarty, Special
Counsel, (202) 418-6627, [email protected], Division of Swap Dealer and
Intermediary Oversight, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 1155 21st
Street NW, Washington, DC 20581.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commission has issued the following

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Order Under CFTC Regulation 30.10 Exempting Firms Designated by NSE
IFSC Limited (NSE IFSC) From the Application of Certain of the Foreign
Futures and Option Regulations the Later of the Date of Publication of
the Order Herein in the Federal Register or After Filing of Consents by
Such Firms and NSE IFSC, as Appropriate, to the Terms and Conditions of
the Order Herein

    Commission Regulations governing the offer and sale of commodity
futures and option contracts traded on or subject to the regulations of
a foreign board of trade to customers located in the U.S. are contained
in Part 30 of the Commission's regulations.\1\ These regulations
include requirements for intermediaries with respect to registration,
disclosure, capital adequacy, protection of customer funds,
recordkeeping and reporting, and sales practice and compliance
procedures that are generally comparable to those applicable to
transactions on U.S. markets.

    \1\ Commission regulations referred to herein are found at 17
CFR Ch. I.

    In formulating a regulatory program to govern the offer and sale of
foreign futures and option products to customers located in the U.S.,
the Commission, among other things, considered the desirability of
ameliorating the potential impact of such a program. Based upon these
considerations, the Commission determined to permit persons located
outside the U.S. and subject to a comparable regulatory structure in
the jurisdiction in which they were located to seek an exemption from
certain of the requirements under Part 30 of the Commission's
regulations based upon substituted compliance with the regulatory
requirements of the foreign jurisdiction.\2\

    \2\ ``Foreign Futures and Foreign Options Transactions,'' 52 FR
28290 (Aug. 5, 1987).

    Appendix A to Part 30, ``Interpretative Statement With Respect to
the Commission's Exemptive Authority Under Sec.  30.10 of Its Rules''
(Appendix A), generally sets forth the elements the Commission will
evaluate in determining whether a particular regulatory program may be
found to be comparable for purposes of exemptive relief pursuant to
Regulation 30.10.\3\ These elements include: (1) Registration,
authorization or other form of licensing, fitness review or
qualification of persons that solicit and accept customer orders; (2)
minimum financial requirements for those persons who accept customer
funds; (3) protection of customer funds from misapplication; (4)
recordkeeping and reporting requirements; (5) sales practice standards;
and (6) procedures to audit for compliance with, and to take action
against those persons who violate, the requirements of the program. In
addition, Appendix A to Part 30 further provides that any exemption of
a general nature based on comparability requires appropriate
information sharing arrangements between the Commission and the
appropriate governmental agency and/or self-regulatory organization to
ensure Commission access on an ``as needed'' basis to information
essential to maintaining standards of customer and market protection
within the U.S.

    \3\ 52 FR 28990, 29001.

    Moreover, the Commission specifically stated in adopting Regulation
30.10 that no exemption of a general nature would be granted unless the
persons to whom the exemption is to be applied: (1) Submit to
jurisdiction in the U.S. by designating an agent for service of process
in the U.S. with respect to transactions subject to Part 30 and filing
a copy of the agency agreement with the National Futures Association
(NFA); (2) agree to provide access to their books and records in the
U.S. to the Commission and Department of Justice representatives; and
(3) notify NFA of the commencement of business in the U.S.\4\ Appendix
A also specifically states that in considering an exemption request,
the Commission will take into account the extent to which United States
persons or contracts regulated by the Commission are permitted to
engage in futures-related activities or be offered in the country from
which an exemption is sought.\5\

    \4\ 52 FR 28980, 28981 and 29002.
    \5\ 17 CFR part 30, Appendix A.

    On November 26, 2018, NSE IFSC petitioned the Commission on behalf
of its member firms, located and conducting a financial investment
business in the Republic of India, for an exemption from the
application of the Commission's Part 30 Regulations to those firms. NSE
IFSC amended its petition on various occasions with additional
information. In support of its petition, NSE IFSC stated that granting
such an exemption with respect to such firms that it has authorized to
conduct foreign futures and option transactions on behalf of customers
located in the U.S. would not be contrary to the public interest or to
the purposes of the provisions from which the exemption is sought
because such firms are subject to a regulatory framework comparable to
that imposed by the Act and the regulations thereunder.
    Based upon a review of the petition and supplementary materials
filed by NSE IFSC, the Commission has concluded that NSE IFSC has
demonstrated to the Commission's satisfaction that the exemption for
relief pursuant to Sec.  30.10(a) is not otherwise contrary to the
public interest or to the purposes of the provisions from which
exemption is sought. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that
compliance with applicable Indian law and NSE IFSC rules may be
substituted for compliance with those sections of the Act and
regulations thereunder more particularly set forth herein.
    By this Order, the Commission hereby exempts, subject to specified
conditions, those firms identified to the Commission by NSE IFSC as
eligible for the relief granted herein from:
     Registration with the Commission for firms and for firm
     The requirement in Commission Regulation 30.6(a) and (d),
17 CFR 30.6(a) and (d), that firms provide customers located in the
U.S. with the risk disclosure statements in Commission Regulation
1.55(b), 17 CFR 1.55(b), and Commission Regulation 33.7, 17 CFR 33.7,
or as otherwise approved under Commission Regulation 1.55(c), 17 CFR
     The separate account requirement contained in Commission
Regulation 30.7, 17 CFR 30.7;
     Those sections of Part 1 of the Commission's regulations
that apply to foreign futures and options sold in the U.S. as set forth
in Part 30; and
     Those sections of Part 1 of the Commission's regulations
relating to books and records which apply to transactions subject to
Part 30,

based upon substituted compliance by such persons with the applicable
statutes and regulations in effect in India.
    This determination to permit substituted compliance is based on,
among other things, the Commission's finding that the regulatory
framework governing persons in India who would be exempted hereunder
    (1) A system of qualification or authorization of firms who deal in
transactions subject to regulation under Part 30 that includes, for
example, criteria and procedures for granting, monitoring, suspending
and revoking licenses, and provisions for requiring and obtaining
access to information about authorized firms and persons who act on
behalf of such firms;
    (2) Financial requirements for firms including, without limitation,
a requirement for a minimum level of working capital and daily mark-to-

[[Page 74863]]

market settlement and/or accounting procedures;
    (3) A system for the protection of customer assets that is designed
to preclude the use of customer assets to satisfy house obligations and
requires separate accounting for such assets;
    (4) Recordkeeping and reporting requirements pertaining to
financial and trade information;
    (5) Sales practice standards for authorized firms and persons
acting on their behalf that include, for example, required disclosures
to prospective customers and prohibitions on improper trading advice;
    (6) Procedures to audit for compliance with, and to redress
violations of, the customer protection and sales practice requirements
referred to above, including, without limitation, an affirmative
surveillance program designed to detect trading activities that take
advantage of customers, and the existence of broad powers of
investigation relating to sales practice abuses; and
    (7) Mechanisms for sharing of information between the Commission,
NSE IFSC and the Indian regulatory authorities on an ``as needed''
basis including, without limitation, confirmation data, data necessary
to trace funds related to trading futures products subject to
regulation in India, position data, and data on firms' standing to do
business and financial condition.
    Commission staff has concluded, upon review of the petition of NSE
IFSC and accompanying exhibits, that NSE IFSC's regulation of futures
and options intermediaries is comparable to that of the U.S. in the
areas specified in Appendix A of Part 30, as described above.
    This Order does not provide an exemption from any provision of the
Act or regulations thereunder not specified herein, such as the
antifraud provision in Regulation 30.9. Moreover, the relief granted is
limited to brokerage activities undertaken on behalf of customers
located in the U.S. with respect to transactions entered on or subject
to the rules of NSE IFSC for products that customers located in the
U.S. may trade.\6\ The relief does not extend to regulations relating
to trading, directly or indirectly, on U.S. exchanges, and does not
pertain to any transaction in swaps, as defined in Section 1a(47) of
the Act. For example, a NSE IFSC member trading in U.S. markets for its
own account would be subject to the Commission's large trader reporting
requirements.\7\ Similarly, if such a firm were carrying positions on a
U.S. exchange on behalf of foreign clients and submitted such
transactions for clearing on an omnibus basis through a firm registered
as a futures commission merchant under the Act, it would be subject to
the reporting requirements applicable to foreign brokers.\8\ The relief
herein is inapplicable where the firm solicits or accepts orders from
customers located in the U.S. for transactions on U.S. markets. In that
case, the firm must comply with all applicable U.S. laws and
regulations, including the requirement to register in the appropriate

    \6\ See, e.g., Sections 2(a)(1)(C) and (D) of the Act.
    \7\ See, e.g., 17 CFR part 18.
    \8\ See, e.g., 17 CFR parts 17 and 21.

    The eligibility of any firm to seek relief under this exemptive
Order is subject to the following conditions:
    (1) The NSE IFSC, as the self-regulatory organization responsible
for monitoring the compliance of such firms with the regulatory
requirements described in the Regulation 30.10 petition, must represent
in writing to the Commission that:
    (a) Each firm for which relief is sought is registered, licensed or
authorized, as appropriate, and is otherwise in good standing under the
standards in place in India; such firm is engaged in business with
customers located in India as well as in the U.S.; and such firm and
its principals and employees who engage in activities subject to Part
30 would not be statutorily disqualified from registration under
Section 8a(2) of the Act, 7 U.S.C. 12a(2);
    (b) It will monitor firms to which relief is granted for compliance
with the regulatory requirements for which substituted compliance is
accepted and will promptly notify the Commission or NFA of any change
in status of a firm that would affect its continued eligibility for the
exemption granted hereunder, including the termination of its
activities in the U.S.;
    (c) All transactions with respect to customers located in the U.S.
will be made subject to the regulations of NSE IFSC;
    (d) Customers located in the U.S. will be provided no less
stringent regulatory protection than India customers under all relevant
provisions of Indian law; and
    (e) It will cooperate with the Commission with respect to any
inquiries concerning any activity subject to regulation under the Part
30 Regulations, including sharing the information specified in Appendix
A on an ``as needed'' basis and will use its best efforts to notify the
Commission if it becomes aware of any information that in its judgment
affects the financial or operational viability of a member firm doing
business in the U.S. under the exemption granted by this Order.
    (2) Each firm seeking relief hereunder must represent in writing
that it:
    (a) Is located outside the U.S., its territories and possessions
and, where applicable, has subsidiaries or affiliates domiciled in the
U.S. with a related business (e.g., banks and broker/dealer affiliates)
along with a brief description of each subsidiary's or affiliate's
identity and principal business in the U.S.;
    (b) Consents to jurisdiction in the U.S. under the Act by filing a
valid and binding appointment of an agent in the U.S. for service of
process in accordance with the requirements set forth in Regulation
    (c) Agrees to provide access to its books and records related to
transactions under Part 30 required to be maintained under the
applicable statutes and regulations in effect in India upon the request
of any representative of the Commission or U.S. Department of Justice
at the place in the U.S. designated by such representative, within 72
hours, or such lesser period of time as specified by that
representative as may be reasonable under the circumstances after
notice of the request;
    (d) Has no principal or employee who solicits or accepts orders
from customers located in the U.S. who would be disqualified under
Section 8a(2) of the Act, 7 U.S.C. 12a(2), from doing business in the
    (e) Consents to participate in any NFA arbitration program that
offers a procedure for resolving customer disputes on the papers where
such disputes involve representations or activities with respect to
transactions under Part 30, and consents to notify customers located in
the U.S. of the availability of such a program; provided, however, that
the firm may require its customers located in the U.S. to execute a
consent concerning the exhaustion of certain mediation or conciliation
procedures made available by NSE IFSC prior to bringing an NFA
arbitration proceeding; and
    (f) Undertakes to comply with the applicable provisions of Indian
laws and NSE IFSC rules that form the basis upon which this exemption
from certain provisions of the Act and regulations thereunder is
    As set forth in the Commission's September 11, 1997 Order
delegating to NFA certain responsibilities, the written representations
set forth in paragraph

[[Page 74864]]

(2) shall be filed with NFA.\9\ Each firm seeking relief hereunder has
an ongoing obligation to notify NFA should there be a material change
to any of the representations required in the firm's application for

    \9\ 62 FR 47792, 47793 (Sept. 11, 1997). Among other duties, the
Commission authorized NFA to receive requests for confirmation of
Regulation 30.10 relief on behalf of particular firms, to verify
such firms' fitness and compliance with the conditions of the
appropriate Regulation 30.10 Order and to grant exemptive relief
from registration to qualifying firms.

    This Order will become effective as to any designated NSE IFSC firm
the later of the date of publication of the Order in the Federal
Register or the filing of the consents set forth in paragraphs (2)(a)-
(f). Upon filing of the notice required under paragraph (1)(b) as to
any such firm, the relief granted by this Order may be suspended
immediately as to that firm. That suspension will remain in effect
pending further notice by the Commission, or the Commission's designee,
to the firm and NSE IFSC.
    This Order is issued pursuant to Regulation 30.10 based on the
representations made and supporting material provided to the Commission
and the recommendation of the staff, and is made effective as to any
firm granted relief hereunder based upon the filings and
representations of such firms required hereunder. Any material changes
or omissions in the facts and circumstances pursuant to which this
Order is granted might require the Commission to reconsider its finding
that the exemption is not otherwise contrary to the public interest or
to the purposes of the provision from which exemption is sought.
Further, if experience demonstrates that the continued effectiveness of
this Order in general, or with respect to a particular firm, would be
contrary to the public interest, or that the systems in place for the
exchange of information or other circumstances do not warrant
continuation of the exemptive relief granted herein, the Commission
may, after appropriate notice and opportunity to respond, condition,
modify, suspend, terminate, withhold as to a specific firm, or
otherwise restrict the exemptive relief granted in this Order, as
appropriate and as permitted by law, on its own motion. The process by
which the Commission may terminate relief is set forth in Sec. 

    \10\ 17 CFR 30.10(c). See 85 FR 15359 (Mar. 18, 2020).

    The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of its
program to exempt firms located in jurisdictions generally deemed to
have a comparable regulatory program from the application of certain of
the foreign futures and option regulations and will make necessary
adjustments if appropriate.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on November 2, 2020, by the
Robert Sidman,
Deputy Secretary of the Commission.

    Note:  The following appendix will not appear in the Code of
Federal Regulations.

Appendix to Foreign Futures and Options Transactions--Commission Voting

    On this matter, Chairman Tarbert and Commissioners Quintenz,
Behnam, Stump, and Berkovitz voted in the affirmative. No
Commissioner voted in the negative.

[FR Doc. 2020-24659 Filed 11-23-20; 8:45 am]