Release:                     #4339-99
For Release:              November 17, 1999

CFTC Approves Actions to Advance Regulatory Reform

Washington -- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today approved two actions aimed at advancing its ongoing program of regulatory reform.

First, the Commission approved final rules that will permit futures exchanges to list new contracts for trading -- and subsequently to amend those contracts pursuant to exchange certification -- without prior Commission approval. This new listing procedure represents an alternative to the regular or fast-track procedures that are currently in place. The rules will be effective 60-days after they are published in the Federal Register.

Second, the Commission will be seeking public comment on a proposal to revise Commission regulation 1.41 to allow futures exchanges to make new rules and rule amendments effective without prior Commission approval. The Commission expects the proposal to be published in the Federal Register shortly and has provided a 60-day comment period.

In commenting on today's Commission actions, Chairman William J. Rainer stated:

"Today, the Commission began the process of modernizing itself as a streamlined, innovative, and effective oversight agency. Our actions recognize that the futures markets have matured greatly under the Commission's careful watch over the past twenty-five years and that the time has come to allow the exchanges to operate in a market environment free from unnecessary government intervention.

In approving final rules to permit futures exchanges to list contracts for trading without prior Commission approval, the Commission granted this authority with enthusiasm and faith in the market's ability to choose for itself which contracts serve an economic purpose. Further, the Commission approved these rules with the utmost confidence that we can continue to assure market integrity through our existing surveillance and enforcement authority.

In proposing to revise Commission regulation 1.41 so as to authorize the futures exchanges to put new and amended rules into effect without prior approval, the Commission is confident that the exchanges will assume responsibility for assuring that their rules comply with the Commodity Exchange Act and that they are fair to all market users. The Commission invites comments from all interested parties and looks forward to a thorough and thoughtful discussion of this proposal."

Copies of the final rules regarding the listing of new contracts and the proposed revisions to Commission regulation 1.41 may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretariat, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20581, (202) 418-5100. The Commission also intends to make these documents available in the near future on its website at