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CME Group Wins Swap-Data Repository Registration From CFTC

CME Group Inc., operator of the world’s largest futures exchange, has been approved by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to operate a database for information on interest rate, credit and other swaps.

Chicago-based CME, which is seeking an injunction against CFTC rules for reporting private trade information, was granted provisional registration for its own swap-data repository, the agency said today in a statement.

CME’s repository is the third approved by the CFTC to give regulators a better view of prices and volume in a $639 trillion global swaps market dominated by banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The agency previously gave provisional registration to Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.’s DTCC Data Repository LLC and ICE Trade Vault LLC, a repository operated by Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

“CME Repository Service is a natural extension of the clearing and processing services we offer to both sell- and buy-side clients, providing a compliant, efficient and low-cost way for market participants to access an SDR,” Kim Taylor, president of CME Clearing and the CME Repository Service, said in a statement.

“As market participants look for alternatives in the SDR space, our service offers them the ability to optimize their existing connections to CME Clearing for automatic SDR reporting, which delivers a lower-cost option for firms transitioning to the clearing mandate,” Taylor said.

Michael Shore, a CME spokesman, said the suit seeking an injunction against the CFTC reporting rules hasn’t been withdrawn, and he declined to comment further on the matter.

Contradicted Rules

After the data-repository rulemaking, the CFTC’s staff on Oct. 11 published a document addressing frequently asked questions about reporting. CME said the document contradicted the rules by saying buyers and sellers of a swap would be allowed to decide which database would get trade information.

“To the extent the FAQ requires CME to report nonpublic regulatory data on cleared swaps to SDRs chosen by the original swap counterparties, CME will suffer harm,” Mark D. Young, a Washington-based partner representing CME at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, said in the lawsuit.

Fragmented information about the market across multiple data repositories risks undermining goals of the Dodd-Frank Act by threatening regulators’ ability to view consolidated positions and patterns of manipulative or abusive trading, according to New York-based DTCC.

‘Strong Advocate’

“DTCC is a strong advocate for a fair and competitive marketplace that allows for user choice and welcomes new entrants,” Judy Inosanto, a DTCC spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The best way to increase market transparency is to have, as the Dodd-Frank act provides, all cleared and uncleared trades reported to a swap-data repository as selected by the counterparty to the transaction and to ensure these SDRs and derivatives clearing organizations provide fair and open access to all market participants.”

The case is Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. v. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 12-cv-01820, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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