CFTC grants temporary relief to market participants, warns investors about scammers taking advantage of coronavirus news

In light of the spread of COVID-19, The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is offering temporary no-action relief for selected market participants.

In a message addressing the CFTC's actions related to COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – the commission announced that it had granted temporary no-action relief to a range of companies under its remit. The list includes futures commission merchants, floor brokers, retail foreign exchange dealers, swap dealers, swap execution facilities, and designated contract markets. Its most recent form of targeted relief came on March 20, according to a public statement.

As a result of the relief, market participants are temporarily exempt from certain compliance regulations that are difficult to achieve due to health measures like remote work and social distancing. 

"In connection with an industry-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, no-action relief has been requested for failure to comply with certain Commission regulations where compliance is anticipated to be particularly challenging or impossible because of displacement of firm personnel from their normal business sites due to community nonpharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said a memo detailing the relief. 

Additionally, the CFTC has warned investors about fraudsters who seek to profit off of the current market volatility triggered by concerns about the current pandemic. Specifically, the agency said it had observed a high number of fraudulent actors who are using COVID-19 related news events to manipulate investors.

"The common advice is ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is,'" the CFTC added.