Steps Hedge Fund Managers Should Take Now to Ensure Their Swap Trading Continues Uninterrupted When New Regulation Takes Effect March 1, 2017

In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions sought to reduce systemic risk and promote central clearing by recommending mandatory margin requirements on non-centrally cleared derivatives (i.e., derivatives that trade bilaterally). See “OTC Derivatives Clearing: How Does It Work and What Will Change?” (Jul. 14, 2011). In late 2015, five federal regulators adopted a joint rule that applies these requirements to swap dealers under their supervision; the CFTC adopted its own rule. The compliance date for the variation margin requirements under these rules is March 1, 2017. See “Hedge Funds Face Increased Margin Requirements Under Final Swap Rules (Part One of Two)” (Feb. 18, 2016); and “Hedge Funds Face Increased Trading Costs Under Final Swap Rules (Part Two of Two)” (Feb. 25, 2016). To better understand how the rules affect the private funds industry, the Hedge Fund Law Report recently interviewed Leigh Fraser, a partner at Ropes & Gray and co-leader of the firm’s hedge fund group, regarding the steps that funds should take to ensure that their swaps trading continues on an uninterrupted basis. For additional insights from Fraser, see our three-part series on best practices in negotiating prime brokerage arrangements: “Preliminary Considerations When Selecting Firms and Brokerage Arrangements” (Dec. 1, 2016); “Structural Considerations of Multi-Prime and Split Custodian-Broker Arrangements” (Dec. 8. 2016); and “Legal Considerations When Negotiating Prime Brokerage Agreements” (Dec. 15, 2016).

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