CFTC Skeleton Crew struggles to monitor sefs’ timid beginnings


According to, swaps trading is off to a slow start since the implementation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s sefs.

In an effort to make the market more transparent, the CFTC mandated that all swaps trading be done through swap execution facilities, a rule that went into effect on October 2nd. While the market isn’t seeing huge volumes right now, it may actually be for the best. With small scale trading, any kinks within the new system can be looked into without major issue.

Smaller scale trading may also be working out better for the CFTC itself, who is operating with a skeleton crew thanks to the government shutdown furloughing all but about 30 of the CFTC’s over 600 person staff. With almost no personnel, the CFTC is finding it nearly impossible to monitor the $633 trillion dollar market. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, who has remained steadfast in his decision to go forward with these deadlines despite all of this, has actually taken to the phone himself to call traders and inquire about issues within the system.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which hasn’t yet been affected by the government shutdown due to a surplus in funds, is running normally, raising questions and reviewing guidelines with the sefs in an attempt to smooth out issues during this transition phase.

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About the Author

Felix Shipkevich
Mr. Shipkevich’s practice focuses on regulatory, transactional, and enforcement matters in the fields of futures, commodities, and derivatives. He works with Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs), Retail Forex Exchange Dealers (RFEDs), Introducing Brokers (IBs), Commodity Pool Operators (CPOs), Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs), Swap Dealers (SDs), Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs), and domestic and offshore hedge funds. Mr. Shipkevich guides clients on procedures related to registration with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA), as well as domestic and international regulators in local jurisdictions. Mr. Shipkevich prepares and helps implement compliance, anti-money laundering (AML), and Electronic Trading Systems (ETS) procedures for clients in the commodities and derivatives fields.