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US watchdog set to weaken derivatives rules

"A leading US regulator is poised to water down rules for derivatives trading that critics argue will allow global banks to preserve their dominance of the market.

"Mark Wetjen, seen as the swing vote on the five-person Commodity Futures Trading Commission, recommended this week in a confidential agency memorandum that the CFTC alter its proposed rule regarding derivatives marketplaces, or “swap execution facilities”, according to people who have seen the document.

"Mr Wetjen is proposing to abandon a proposal – which was vehemently opposed by the largest global banks – to require institutional investors to solicit prices, or “requests for quote”, from five dealers.

"The proposal was intended to increase price transparency and encourage wider participation in the market beyond the limited number of big dealers."

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