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Foreign exchange: CFTC stokes a retail rumpus

Platforms form lobby group to counter proposals

"This is over-regulation at its finest. Whatever happened to: A government is best which governs least?"

News that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission wants feedback on proposed restrictions on retail FX prompted fury from both service providers and their clients. The CFTC has invited comment on issues including registration, disclosure, recordkeeping, financial reporting, minimum capital and other operational standards. Specifically, the proposed regulations would require the registration of counterparties offering retail foreign currency contracts as futures commission merchants (FCMs) or retail foreign exchange dealers (RFEDs), a new category of registrant created by the Farm Bill in 2008.

Maintain capital
Perhaps the most important new proposal is that FCMs and RFEDs will be required to maintain net capital of $20 million plus 5% of the amount by which liabilities to retail FX customers exceed $10 million. The CFTC is also suggesting that retail clients will be limited to 10% margins. Retail service providers have 60 days to respond to the proposals.

And the response came quickly. A group of the sector’s leading platforms have already formed a lobby group – the Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Coalition (FXDC) – to contest the CFTC’s proposals.

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