2020 saw continuity in CFTC leadership, programs, and direction from 2019. Overall, the Commission enjoyed an unusually heavy rulemaking calendar and continued the direction of its enforcement program from 2019.
On the enforcement side, the Commission brought a record number of cases, broadly representative of the full breadth and scope of the markets and activities within the Commission's jurisdictions. Spoofing remained a priority, with the Commission and the Department of Justice (DOJ) jointly resolving several significant spoofing matters in 2020, including the single largest settlement in Commission history. The Commission also brought its first action arising out of its foreign corruption initiative. In addition, the Commission brought a record number of retail fraud cases as well as meaningful actions regarding swap dealer compliance and digital asset intermediaries. Beyond these individual actions, the Commission also took several noteworthy steps to publicize and document the Division of Enforcement's internal processes, including how it determines civil penalties and assesses corporate compliance programs.
On the regulatory side, the Commission engaged in a very high number of final rulemakings, especially notable in light of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission addressed the pandemic with a series of targeted no-action letters and then resumed its pre-pandemic regulatory agenda. Most significantly, with the adoption of the speculative position limit rules, the CFTC completed the last significant remaining open issue in its implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.1 Much of the rest of the Commission's rulemaking activity was to codify relief from various Dodd-Frank implementing rules that were previously granted through the no-action process. Although not breaking new ground, this effort will be helpful to market participants and the practitioners who advise them in the future. Finally, the Market Risk Advisory Committee, in a groundbreaking meeting, examined the issue of climate change and its relationship to the futures industry.
1. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Public Law 111–203, title VII, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010) (Dodd-Frank Act).
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