Public Statements & Remarks

Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz on Proposed Rule Further Extending Swap Margin Deadline for Entities with Smaller Swap Portfolios

June 25, 2020

I concur with issuing for public comment the proposal to extend the swap initial margin compliance date to September 1, 2022 for certain financial entities that have smaller swap portfolios (“Proposal”).

This is the second extension for these entities.  The original compliance date was September 1, 2020.  The reasons for this proposed extension are essentially the same as the first extension.  The first extension was meant to avoid congestion in negotiating and implementing thousands of initial margin arrangements for the approximately 700 entities that would otherwise have needed to enter into initial margin arrangements by September 1, 2020.  The extension split the compliance timeline for the smaller swap portfolio entities from the timeline for the entities with larger portfolios.  The larger portfolio entities were still expected to comply by September 1, 2020, but the compliance date for the smaller entities was extended to September 1, 2021.  However, more recently, in light of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the compliance date for the larger swap portfolio entities was extended to September 1, 2021, thus again establishing the same compliance date for both the larger and smaller swap portfolio groups.

Although the Proposal is based on essentially the same rationale as the first extension for the smaller entities, I am not presupposing that the full extension is necessary.  The smaller swap portfolio entities and their swap dealers will have had nearly six years to prepare for the deadline as of September 1, 2021.  These entities, as well as the larger portfolio entities for which September 1, 2021 is the deadline, will have had plenty of time to spread the negotiation and implementation process out over those many years.  It is my understanding that many of the larger swap portfolio entities were already well on the way to completing the necessary documentation when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.  The Proposal includes several questions as to whether the further extension in the Proposal could increase costs by possibly stopping and restarting negotiations again.  In determining whether an extension will be finalized in regulation, the Commission will benefit from input from the public through the notice and comment process provided for in the Administrative Procedure Act.

For these reasons, I concur in the issuance of the Proposal and look forward to comments from the public.