New Rules Protect Customers

| October 24, 2012 | 2:34 pm
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Dow Jones — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed rules to increase customer protections in the futures market, a move that follow two high-profile brokerage bankruptcy filings over the past year.

Commissioner Bart Chilton said the rules, announced Tuesday, would have prevented the “fiascos” at Peregrine Financial Group Inc. and MF Global Holdings Ltd., but that lawmakers should go further.

The commission and the futures industry’s self-regulatory body, the National Futures Association, have passed several changes to try to better protect customers after money was stolen by Peregrine Chief Executive Russell Wasendorf Sr.  No criminal action has been alleged in the MF Global collapse.

The five-member commission decided unanimously in a closed-door vote to propose giving regulators and self-regulatory organizations access to electronic records of customer accounts held by futures firms.

If the rules are finalized, they would also change the way customer funds for trading on foreign exchanges have to be held, closing a loophole that allowed firms to count these funds differently than other funds, which become an issue in the final days before MF Global’s bankruptcy filing last year.

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