Dodd-Frank Act Creates Significant Changes in Bankruptcy Law Affecting Derivatives and Other Trading Counterparties

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After months of negotiations and conferences among key legislators, President Obama signed into law a final version of regulatory reform legislation on July 21, 2010. More than 2,000 pages long, the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” (the Act) provides new legal guidelines for both “financial companies” and non-financial companies and instructs federal agencies to develop a myriad of regulations to enforce the concepts provided in the Act. The Act also addresses the ability of federal regulators to step-in if state regulators fail to take action in certain liquidation and rehabilitation scenarios. Among the many areas in which companies now face a new legal and regulatory landscape, the Act makes a handful of significant changes to existing bankruptcy law. The Act creates new statutes that will arise infrequently, but that will likely have a significant effect on the rights of creditors and counterparties on the occasions when they are triggered.

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