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CFTC Staff Provides Limited Continuation of Certain No-Action Relief

January 25th | 2021


The Market Participants Division (MPD) and the Division of Market Oversight (DMO) of the CFTC recently announced extensions to temporary no-action relief issued in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that expired on January 15, 2021.


Subject to the conditions stated therein, CFTC Staff Letter No. 21-04 provides the following relief:

  • Oral Communications Recordkeeping Relief. MPD is providing a brief period of relief from CFTC regulations requiring recording of oral communications related to voice trading and other telephonic communications for IBs and FBs. In conjunction with MPD’s relief, DMO is providing DCMs relief from certain CFTC regulations related to audit trails, and related requirements where non-compliance arises from the inability of IBs and FBs to record voice communications as a result of their displacement, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic response, from an DCM’s trading floor and/or other designated premises from which customer orders may be placed. Both MPD’s and DMO’s relief expires on March 31, 2021.

Subject to the conditions stated therein, CFTC Staff Letter No. 21-05 provides the following relief:

  • Timestamping Relief for Registrants and Members of Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs), and Designated Contract Markets (DCMs). MPD is providing time-limited, targeted no-action relief for affected firms from time-stamping requirements when they are located in remote, socially-distanced locations. This relief does not apply for customer orders that are able to be entered into a trade-matching engine immediately upon receipt. This relief expires on April 15, 2021.

  • Relief from Introducing Broker (IB) Registration and Location Requirements for Floor Brokers (FBs). MPD is providing a limited continuation of relief from IB registration and location requirements for FBs that normally operate on an exchange’s trading floor and/or other designated premises from which customer orders may be placed. This relief expires on April 15, 2021.

  • Relief for DCMs. DMO is providing a limited continuation of targeted no-action relief for DCMs from certain CFTC regulations related to audit trails, and related requirements as a result of the displacement of trading personnel from their normal business sites. This relief expires on April 15, 2021.

A comprehensive list of the CFTC’s temporary relief related to the pandemic can be found at cftc.gov/coronavirus.

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