When it comes to addressing the legal, compliance and risk issues facing commodity and futures markets, it doesn’t get any better than FIA Law & Compliance. For over 40 years, top practitioners, lawyers and regulators have convened at L&C. As the industry has grown, so too has the conference and 2019 was no exception. Here are several takeaways from this year’s gathering:
- Following the first ever publication of both enforcement actions and annual objectives in the past year, the CFTC debuted another first last week as they published their enforcement manual. All of these efforts are emblematic of CFTC Chairman Giancarlo’s KISS initiative, which aims to make CFTC rules and regulations less burdensome, less costly and more transparent to all market participants.
- Speaking of Chairman Giancarlo, industry consensus is that there will not be any major rule changes or new initiatives until the new chairman is confirmed and up to speed, hopefully sometime this summer. There might also be considerable turnover in division heads as well, which is a common occurrence with regime change.
- The agency seems to be more interested in litigating “insider trading” cases in the futures markets as of late. From reading the room, feels like a lot of general industry concerns. During one of the first panels, Vince McGongagle, Principal Deputy Director, Division of Enforcement at the CFTC, basically stated firm/individuals can continue to trade on their own public/private data. However, as soon as there is an attempt to misappropriate someone’s data and trade, there will be issues. As more cases are litigated and/or settled, clearer guidance will be available.
- There was less talk about crypto than last year but still very much part of the agenda. Who knows what 2020 will bring on that subject.
The good news / bad news is that the Law & Compliance conference continues to grow by an appreciable amount year after year: good because these important areas are getting the attention that they deserve, bad because there seems to be no possible let up to the increasing regulatory and compliance burden that the industry has to shoulder.
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