CFTC Approves Final Rules Relating to DCMs, SEFs and Margin Requirements for Uncleared Swaps

 

On December 8, the CFTC approved a number of final rules, including (i) amendments requiring designated contract markets (DCMs) to implement certain risk controls relating to market disruptions caused by electronic trading, (ii) amendments to eliminate certain operational requirements applicable to swap execution facilities (SEFs), and (iii) amendments to the margin requirements for uncleared swaps for swap dealers and major swap participants. DCM Risk Controls Release. SEF Regulations Release. Margin Requirements Release.

SEC Adopts Rule on Fair Valuation Practices Under Investment Company Act

 

On December 3, the SEC adopted Rule 2a-5 establishing an updated regulatory framework for fund valuation practices. The rule requires fund boards of directors (or their designee) to perform certain functions in order to determine in good faith the fair value of a fund’s investments, as required under the Investment Company Act of 1940, including periodically assessing and managing material risks associated with fair value determinations, selecting, applying and testing fair value methodologies, and overseeing and evaluating any pricing services used. Release. Final Rule.

Agencies Announce Threshold for Smaller Loan Exemption from Appraisal Requirements for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans

 

On November 18, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) (collectively, the “Agencies”) announced that the threshold for exempting loans from special appraisal requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans during 2021 will remain at $27,200, as it was in 2020. 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.

Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance Clarifying the Deductibility of Expenses Where a Business Received a PPP Loan

 

On November 18, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance clarifying the tax treatment of expenses where a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan has not been forgiven by the end of the year the loan was received. Since businesses are not taxed on the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan, the expenses are not deductible. 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.

FHFA Further Extends COVID-Related Loan Flexibilities

 

On November 13, the FHFA announced that it will extend several loan origination flexibilities until December 31 that were set to expire on November 30. The extended flexibilities include alternative appraisals on purchase and rate term refinance loans, alternative methods for documenting income and verifying employment before loan closing and expanding the use of power of attorney to assist with loan closings. 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.

CFTC Issues New Exemptions for Certain Foreign Futures and Options Markets

 

On November 2, the CFTC issued multiple orders as part of its Part 30 exemptive program, which allows for increased access to foreign futures and options markets where foreign intermediaries are subject to comparable customer protection standards. The orders were issued with respect to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange International Financial Service Centre Limited, the Montreal Exchange, NZX Limited and UBS AG. Release.