New U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission head Elisse Walter set the stage for the commission’s upcoming regulatory year on Friday. Walters placed capital raising, market structure, and issues of extraterritoriality regarding cross-border swaps regulation at the top of the agenda.
The SEC will have to work with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) closely on cross-border swaps reform. Both agencies have been chided by Congress for creating confusion with regard to extraterritorial swaps issues.
In late December, the CFTC continued a wave of swaps-related exemptions and delays when it issued no-action relief for certain banks owned by non-U.S. swap dealers. The relief for foreign-owned banks came as the CFTC was urged by Congress to establish workable cross-border compliance rules.
“We are very concerned that a lack of coordination between both foreign and domestic regulators could soon lead to a disruption of the derivatives markets,” 14 members of the House of Representatives, from both parties, said in a letter in December.
Shortly thereafter, Walters took over as interim head of the SEC. In her discussion last week, she described a pending cross-border swaps rule proposal as a “critical linchpin.”
“That is what is first on the agenda and really stands as the most important thing we need to do as a prelude to adopting everything else,” Walter said last week to the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, a panel of outside advisers.