Rules and Regulations

SEC Proposes Amendment to Rule 144

 

On December 22, the SEC proposed to amend Rule 144. Among other things, the amendment would revise the holding period determination to the date of acquisition upon the conversion or exchange for market-adjustable securities acquired on the conversion or exchange of certain securities of issuers that do not have securities listed on a national securities exchange. The amendment would also require electronic filing of Form 144 and would eliminate the requirement to file Form 144 for resales of securities of issuers that are not subject to Exchange Act reporting. The public comment period will be open for 60 days following the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. Release.

CFPB Issues Two Final Rules to Promote Access to Responsible, Affordable Mortgage Credit

 

On December 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued two final rules related to qualified mortgage (QM) loans. The first final rule, the General QM Final Rule, replaces current requirements for measuring a consumer’s ability to repay General QM loans based on the consumer’s debt-to-income ratio, and instead adopts a price-based approached. The second final rule creates a new category called “Seasoned QMs” for first-lien, fixed-rate covered transactions that have met certain performance requirements, are held in portfolio by the originating creditor or first purchaser for a 36-month period, comply with general restrictions on product features and points and fees, and meet certain underwriting requirements. Release.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Announces Final Capital Rule for the Enterprises

 

On November 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sent for publication a final rule that establishes a new regulatory capital framework for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the “Enterprises”). The final rule fulfills Congress’s Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 mandate that FHFA establish risk-based capital requirements for the Enterprises. Release.

CFTC Unanimously Approves Final Rule for Granting Exemptions from Derivatives Clearing Organization Registration

 

On November 18, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) unanimously approved a final rule establishing a framework for the Commission to grant an exemption from registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) to a clearing organization organized outside of the United States for the purpose of clearing proprietary swap transactions for U.S. persons. Section 5b(h) of the Commodity Exchange Act permits the CFTC to exempt a non-U.S. clearing organization from registration for clearing swaps if the CFTC determines that the clearing organization is subject to comparable, comprehensive supervision and regulation by its home country authorities. Therefore, financial institutions may have more options for central clearing counterparties to clear swaps that they enter into that are subject to a clearing mandate by the CFTC – namely, derivatives clearing organizations organized outside of the U.S., so long as the CFTC determines that they are subject to comparable, comprehensive supervision and regulation by the relevant local authorities in the jurisdiction of their organization. Final Rule.

CFTC Unanimously Approves Final Rule Amending Swap Execution Facility Requirements

 

On November 18, the CFTC unanimously approved a final rule amending certain parts of its regulations relating to the execution of “package transactions” on swap execution facilities (SEFs) and the resolution of error trades on SEFs. The final rule amends part 37 of CFTC regulations to allow the swap components of certain categories of package transactions to be executed on SEF but through flexible means of execution rather than through the required methods of execution for “required transactions.” Release.

CFTC Approves Final Rule Exempting Certain Swaps from Swap-Clearing Requirements

 

On November 2, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approved a final rule exempting swaps entered into by certain financial institutions from the CFTC’s swap-clearing requirement under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). The exemption applies to swaps entered into by certain central banks, sovereign entities, international financial institutions, bank holding companies, savings and loan holding companies and community development financial institutions. Release.

SEC Amends Rules Governing Exempt Offerings

 

On November 2, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) amended its rules governing exempt offerings. The amendments intend to harmonize the “patchwork” framework currently in place that governs exempt offerings. Among other things, the amendments increase the offering limits for Regulation A, Regulation Crowdfunding and Rule 504 offerings, revise certain individual investment limits, and set clear and consistent rules regarding certain offering communications. Release.

SEC Adopts New Rules Governing Funds’ Use of Derivatives

 

On November 2, the SEC adopted final rule 18f-4 under the Investment Company Act. The new rule intends to update the regulation of funds’ use of derivatives. Under the new framework, funds using derivatives will generally have to adopt a derivatives risk-management program administered by a derivatives risk manager and comply with an outer limit on fund leverage risk based on certain calculations. Final Rule.

CFPB Amends Records and Information Disclosure Requirements

 

On October 29, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule amending its disclosure of records and information regulation. The new rule intends to increase protection of confidential information and improve clarity and transparency with agency partners and others. Final Rule.

SEC Adopted a New Rule Allowing Registered Funds to Enter Into Derivative Transactions

 

On October 28, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a new rule 18f-4 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 allowing registered funds to enter into derivative transactions, provided they comply with certain conditions intended to protect investors. The rule will become effective 60 days after publication with an 18-month transition period for compliance with the provisions and related reporting requirements. Release.