In a post-FTX environment, several financial regulators are taking action to emphasize a policy of sound custody and disclosure practices and to better understand certain risks to protect customers in the event of an insolvency or similar proceeding. For example, back in January 2023, the New York Department of Financial Services announced that it had issued certain Guidance on Custodial Structures for Customer Protection in the Event of Insolvency in which it highlighted the significance of consumer protection upon insolvency or similar proceeding. And in February 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to the Custody Rule under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, which, among other changes, clarified aspects of the existing rule and expanded its application to a broader array of client assets managed by registered investment advisers.
This past month, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) acted to ensure proper risk management within the derivatives markets in relation to, among other things, digital assets, by issuing two separate releases: (1) a proposed rulemaking on potential amendments to certain Risk Management Program (“RMP”) requirements applicable to swap dealers (“SDs”), major swap participants (“MSPs”), and futures commission merchants (“FCMs”); and (2) an advisory letter reminding derivatives clearing organization (“DCO”) registrants and DCO applicants about compliance obligations when expanding the types of products cleared and services offered by DCOs, including those related to digital assets. The CFTC stated that re-evaluating its risk management rules is necessary to keep pace with evolving markets that can give rise to new risks from emerging technologies such as digital assets and artificial intelligence.