EU Pushes Ahead with Derivatives Rules

The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, France, decided on 7 February not to pursue a resolution which, if passed, would have forced further delays in the EU’s long-awaited post-crash derivatives regulation.

The motion was withdrawn shortly before it was due to go before members of the European Parliament (MEPs).  EU financial services commissioner, Michel Barnier, said the new rules, which require derivatives trading contracts to be cleared and recorded, can now come into force, most likely mid-March 2013.

Currently most derivatives transactions are not centrally cleared and there is no snapshot of trades to see who is exposed, potentially creating huge uncertainties. The difficulty in unwinding trades after the 2008 crash brought home the magnitude of the problem.

“By adopting these standards the EU meets its G20 commitment in the context of the reform of financial services. The new rules will reduce the risks related to derivative transactions,” said a statement from Barnier, who will now meet US regulators in Washington such as Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to persuade them that the new rules are as stringent as their own.

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