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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Citibank, N.A. (CBNA) and Citigroup Global Markets Limited (CGML) – all units of global banking giant Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) – for failing to report Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) information for swap transactions properly to a Swap Data Repository (SDR), failing to establish the electronic systems and procedures necessary to do so, failing to correct errors in LEI data previously reported to an SDR, and failing to perform supervisory duties diligently with respect to LEI swap data reporting, all in violation of CFTC Regulations.
CBNA is a swap dealer that has been provisionally registered with the CFTC in that capacity since December 31, 2012. CGML is a non-U.S. swap dealer with a principal place of business in London, United Kingdom, that has been provisionally registered with the CFTC in that capacity since October 9, 2013.
The CFTC Order requires Citi to pay a $550,000 civil monetary penalty and to comply with undertakings to improve its LEI swap data reporting.
As provisionally registered swap dealers, CBNA and CGML are required to comply with certain recordkeeping and reporting requirements related to their swap transactions. In particular, Parts 45 and 46 of the Regulations specify requirements for reporting the LEI of each counterparty to a swap. An LEI is a unique, 20-character, alpha-numeric code, used to uniquely identify legally distinct entities that act as counterparties to swap transactions, among other financial transactions. The reporting requirements are designed to enhance transparency, promote standardization, and reduce systemic risk.
According to the Order, from at least April 2015 to December 2016, Citi failed to report LEIs properly for tens of thousands of swaps. The Order finds that many of Citi’s LEI reporting errors stemmed from a design flaw in its swap data reporting systems with respect to swap continuation data. As stated in the Order, Citi did not design its swap data reporting systems to re-report trades based solely upon a change in a counterparty’s LEI, absent another event that required the trade to be re-reported. As a result, Citi failed to report updated LEI information in the continuation data for thousands of swaps that were open as of April 2015. The Order also finds that the design flaw in Citi’s swap data reporting systems contributed to Citi failing to correct errors or omissions in its swap data reporting in a timely manner.
The Order further finds that Citi violated its reporting obligations by reporting “Name Withheld” as the counterparty identifier for tens of thousands of swaps with counterparties in certain foreign jurisdictions. Recognizing potential conflicts between the CFTC’s reporting requirements and non-U.S. privacy, secrecy, and blocking laws, the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) has issued certain time-limited and conditional no-action relief from LEI reporting requirements. However, such no-action relief has been conditioned upon, among other things, the reporting party reporting, in place of LEI, an alternative counterparty identifier, a “Privacy Law Identifier” or “PLI,” that is unique, static, and consistent for each counterparty.
The Order also finds that CBNA and CGML failed to perform their supervisory duties diligently with respect to LEI swap data reporting by failing to enforce existing policies, failing to adequately address compliance with no-action relief where they sought to rely upon such relief, and failing to detect repeated LEI reporting errors.
The Order recognizes Citi’s cooperation with the CFTC’s investigation.