EU publishes draft rules to tighten up on derivatives

The European Union's securities watchdog has published draft rules to meet a December global deadline for making the derivatives market safer and more transparent.

The draft rules are open to public consultation ahead of finalisation in September.

They have been drawn up to help determine the future economics and shape of a sector which was opaque with contracts mainly traded among banks.

The $640trn (£411trn), over-the-counter, or off-exchange, derivatives market lay at the heart of the 2007-09 financial crisis.

As such, they contributed to the collapse of US bank Lehman Brothers and a taxpayer bailout of the US insurer AIG.

The rules define which contracts must be cleared, a procedure backed by a default fund so a transaction is completed even if one side of the deal goes bust, and how clearing houses must be operated so that increased risk from handling greater volumes in future will be contained.

The derivatives industry is also waiting for global regulators at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to come up with the final missing pieces that will reshape the sector: a global minimum margin for uncleared trades and capital charge on all cleared trades.