U.S. swaps regulator should tighten oversight of family offices -official

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the top U.S. swaps regulator, should reverse its loosening of oversight of family offices, a Democratic commissioner said on Thursday in response to the blowup of Archegos Capital.

The downfall of the family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang triggered billions in potential losses for global banks. Archegos, free from regulatory scrutiny, had amassed large positions in stocks, including ViacomCBS, using risky derivatives known as “total return swaps,” regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“To protect the integrity of the commodity markets, the Commission must be aware of and able to monitor the activities of large family offices,” CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkovitz said in a statement expected to be published on the CFTC’s website later on Thursday.

Family offices are entities established by wealthy families to manage their money and provide related services to family members, such as tax and estate planning, as well as managing philanthropic ventures. Single family offices generally are not regulated.

The commodity regulator, which oversees the broader swaps market worth hundreds of trillions of dollars, has loosened its oversight of family offices in recent years. The moves were part of a broader rollback under former President Donald Trump of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms.

Regulators have been monitoring the situation and speaking with market players last week as they seek to understand the Archegos fall-out.

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