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Felix Shipkevich April 15, 2013

Swaps clearing deadline nears, as close to 250 to 300 U.S. investment managers are required to begin clearing swaps transactions by June 10th. According to Reuters, asset managers have been slow to create accounts with clearing houses for OTC derivatives, ahead of the mandatory deadline. This has led to an unmanageable backlog that could potentially jeopardize many firms, leaving them unable to trade.

Peter Barsoom, Chief Operating Officer of IntercontinentalExchange’s ICE Clear Credit told Reuters, “The number of firms that have already set up accounts at the clearing house is a paltry sum compared to that 250.” Barsoom’s comments were addressed to a Futures Industry Association conference in New York this past Thursday.

Regulators are in the process of overhauling the $650 trillion swaps market, and these reforms affect many financial contracts that have traditionally been negotiated largely out of the sight of regulators. With the new rules taking effect, many parties will be involved, requiring large portions of the swaps markets to move to an exchange platform that is run through clearing-houses, which would take on the risk of counterparty default.

Barsoom said to Reuters, “I am very concerned, knowing how quick lawyers are, there is not going to be enough time.”

For operations, investment managers have to sign deals with technology providers in order to connect with multiple futures commission merchants, that execute swaps as well as central counterparties. Many firms are hesitant to set up these operational accounts before finishing the legal process, due to last minute negotiations can impact the agreements.