When the SEC regulates derivatives

By Felix Salmon
June 4, 2009

Economics of Contempt labels me an “idiot journalist” for saying that the SEC is charged with regulating securities but not derivatives. As he points out, the SEC does too regulate securities — specifically, it regulates options on stocks, which are certainly derivatives, as well as exchange-traded options on foreign currency.

My bad. When I think derivatives, I think of swaps and futures in Chicago, rather than exchange-traded stock options — basically, I think of the kind of things which are either regulated by the CFTC, or not regulated at all (like CDS). But yes, there are some derivatives which are regulated by the SEC. My feeling is that all derivatives should be regulated, and that none of them should be regulated by the SEC, which should stick to securities. But of course I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, and for the foreseeable future it is indeed the SEC, and not the CFTC or anybody else, which is in charge of regulating a large chunk of the options market.

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