In a scathing opinion, Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams recently blasted the SEC’s standard demand that defendants settling with the Commission agree never to deny the allegations against them. Judge Abrams’ decision in SEC v. Moraes reluctantly approved a consent decree containing the usual “no admit, no deny” provision in light of the Second Circuit’s recent decision upholding such provisions in SEC v. Romeril, in which Judge Abrams’ father (the famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams) represented the defendant in his unsuccessful petition for certiorari. But Judge Abram expressed concern that the SEC’s insistence on such provisions violates the “unconstitutional conditions doctrine” and the First Amendment.
Both the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and leader of the SEC agree that the crypto markets need regulating, and specific rules may help clarify which agency has authority to regulate various cryptocurrency activities. The client alert below discusses both CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam’s comments and SEC…
SEC Chair Gary Gensler appears to be readying the SEC for increasing oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges, the latest in a series of regulatory actions targeting the growing industry.
In prepared remarks at PLI’s recent SEC Speaks conference, Gensler called on cryptocurrency platforms to register each function they perform with the SEC – for example, requiring crypto dealers, brokers, and lenders to separately register those functions with the SEC. Such a move could result in a dramatic shakeup in the crypto market, where there are currently several cryptocurrency platforms that perform all of these functions. This is in stark contrast to the traditional securities markets, in which such services are separated from each other.
On November 24, 2015, the CFTC announced the new proposed Regulation Automated Trading (“Reg. AT”), which contains a variety of measures designed to prevent potential market disruptions arising from algorithmic trading. Among other things, Reg. AT proposes certain pre-trade risk and order management controls, the implementation of policies and procedures governing algorithmic trading, and additional registration and reporting obligations. Many of these proposals were foreshadowed in a recent speech by the CFTC Chair, which we blogged about here.
On October 21, 2015, CFTC Chair Timothy Massad spoke at the “Evolving Structure of the U.S. Treasury Market” conference organized by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. His remarks came the day after SEC Chair Mary Jo White’s comments, which we blogged about here, and follow this summer’s Joint Staff Report analyzing the significant volatility that the U.S. Treasury market experienced on October 15, 2014, which we blogged about here.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently brought its first enforcement action arising from the Dodd-Frank requirement that swap transactions be reported to a registered swap data repository (SDR). The CFTC has emphasized that the accuracy and completeness of swap reporting is essential to enhance market transparency, promote standardization and reduce systemic risk.
The broad definition of a “swap” in the Dodd-Frank Act, read literally, would encompass many transactions that Congress never intended to cover, so the SEC and the CFTC have jointly promulgated regulations that provide that many of those transactions are not treated as swaps. However, a recent SEC Investor Alert, stating that fantasy stock trading games may be considered swaps if they award prizes, suggests a more expansive reading of the definition by the regulators.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the SEC and the CFTC issued a Joint Staff Report analyzing the significant volatility in the U.S. Treasury market on October 15, 2014. The analysis, however, “did not reveal a clear, single cause of the price movement.”