The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) is "seeking public comment on possible changes to its regulations regarding the investment of customer funds segregated pursuant to Section 4d of the Commodity Exchange Act (customer segregated funds) and funds held in an account subject to Commission Regulation 30.7 (30.7 funds). A recent notice titled, "Investment of Customer Funds and Funds Held in an Account for Foreign Futures and Foreign Options Transactions published in The Federal Register says, "Commission Regulation 1.25 provides that a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) or a futures commission merchant (FCM) holding customer segregated funds may invest those funds in certain permitted investments subject to specified requirements that are designed to minimize exposure to credit, liquidity, and market risks. The Commission is considering significantly revising the scope and character of these permitted investments and is seeking public comment before issuing proposed rule amendments." The proposed revisions include removing money market funds as eligible investments.

The proposal summary says, "Additionally, in conjunction with its consideration of possible amendments to Regulation 1.25, the Commission is considering applying the investment requirements of Regulation 1.25, including any prospective amendments, to investments of 30.7 funds. The Commission is seeking public comment on this action before issuing proposed rule amendments. Comments must be received on or before July 21, 2009." Comments may be submitted by e-mailing (include "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Regulations 1.25 and 30.7" in the subject line), faxing 202-418-5521, or mailing to David A. Stawick, Secretary, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW., Washington, DC 20581.

The proposal says of "[T]he Commission substantially expanded the list of permitted investments by amending Commission Regulation 1.25 in December 2000 to permit investments in general obligations issued by any enterprise sponsored by the United States (government sponsored enterprise securities), bank certificates of deposit, commercial paper, corporate notes, general obligations of a sovereign nation, and interests in money market mutual funds. In connection with that expansion, the Commission included several provisions intended to control exposure to credit, liquidity, and market risks associated with the additional investments, e.g., requirements that the investments satisfy specified rating standards and concentration limits, and be readily marketable and subject to prompt liquidation."

It says, "The Commission believes that DCOs and FCMs have managed customer segregated funds and 30.7 funds responsibly during this difficult economic time. Nonetheless, the market events of the past year, notably the failures of certain government sponsored enterprises, difficulties encountered by certain money market mutual funds in honoring redemption requests, illiquidity of certain adjustable rate securities, and turmoil in the credit ratings industry, have challenged many of the fundamental assumptions regarding investments. As a result, the Commission believes it is an especially appropriate time to review permitted investments for customer segregated funds and 30.7 funds."

Finally, the CFTC says, "In the interest of gathering as much information as possible before reaching any conclusions, the Commission is soliciting comments from the public regarding which instruments should continue to be permitted investments for customer segregated funds under Regulation 1.25. The Commission welcomes comments on which instruments no longer merit inclusion as permitted investments, as well as comments in support of any new instruments that might qualify as permitted investments. The Commission also requests comment on appropriate limitations or safeguards that should be applied to permitted investments. The Commission is particularly interested in relevant data that commenters can provide regarding the credit, liquidity, and market risk of various investment choices. The Commission is open both to evidence in support of retaining current permitted investments and evidence indicating a need to eliminate certain permitted investments. Additionally, the Commission urges commenters to analyze the benefits and burdens of any potential regulatory modifications in light of current market realities."

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