WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board is proposing changes to its regulations governing lending and borrowing by broker-dealers.
The June 21 amendments to the Fed's Regulation T would cut restrictions on transactions involving foreign securities and exchange-traded options. They would not, however, change the 50% margin requirement for securities purchases.
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which also created the Securities and Exchange Commission, directs the Fed to regulate securities lending. Regulation T focuses on broker-dealers, while another rule, Regulation U, deals with such lending by banks.
"Reg U is the other shoe that presumably will have to drop in the future," said banking attorney Gil Schwartz, a partner in the Washington firm of Schwartz & Ballen, adding that he assumed "the trend toward flexibility would also apply on Reg U."
In August 1992, the Fed issued a request for public comment on a comprehensive review of Regulation T. Last October, the Fed board agreed to exempt most transactions involving government securities from the regulation and brought the payment periods in the regulation in line with the SEC's standard settlement period for securities transactions.
The Regulation T revisions now proposed by the Fed would incorporate existing margin requirements established by self-regulatory organizations such as the National Association of Securities Dealers for short options transactions, allow margin lending on long options transactions, and allow broker-dealers to arrange for credit from foreign lenders for customer transactions in foreign securities.
The comment period on the proposed changes ends Aug. 28.