After months of fighting, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities Exchange Commission appear to have won a significant victory in their battle for more authority over credit derivatives. The new plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to regulate derivatives, including the infamous credit-default swaps, gives oversight power to the CFTC and the SEC and largely ignores the Federal Reserve Board, which had been angling for a slice of power.
The CFTC and the SEC will be able not only to monitor fraud and market abuses, but also to set position limits on over-the-counter trades and nix practices that preclude significant price discovery. They will apparently also have the power to demand significant amounts of information from derivatives trading parties.
The fight has been long, and it´s not quite over yet, but this seems like a significant move away from giving the Fed real power over derivatives. Perhaps the agency will, if it is granted authority as a systemic risk monitory, be able to influence derivatives trading though that new role. For now, though, the CFTC and the SEC are the clear victors.