First steps on the path forward: As US swap execution facilities go live, the EU’s move to mandatory exchange trading continues. Here’s what is helping, and impeding, harmonised US and EU responses to the G20 swap trading mandate


At their September 2009 summit in Pittsburgh, G20 leaders agreed that by no later than December 2012, all standardised over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives should be traded on exchanges or electronic trading platforms ‘where appropriate’. No G20 member met this goal.

However, with the recent adoption by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) of swap execution facility (SEF) rules, the US is much closer to meeting this target than its European peers. A US clearing mandate is in force as to major swap categories, SEF rules are now effective, the CFTC has approved its first SEF, and SEF trading is expected to commence this fall (although, as noted below, the CFTC retains considerable timing flexibility). In contrast, the equivalent EU rules for swap trading facilities are far from final and not expected to become effective until even as late as 2016.

Originally published in International Financial Law Review on September 4, 2013.

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