One of the more interesting problems to show up on the radar in the last six months has been an increasing number of inbound questions regarding Dodd Frank compliance questions. Quite bluntly, this had become the Sargasso Sea of consulting expertise - a lot of old flotsam and jetsam (I just love old maritime law terms) waiting for someone to come by and claim it. And it appears that day has come.
The interest seems to be arising from two areas - first, the renewable power space is moving away from bank inter mediated trades to direct developer to consumer (especially large corporate) trades. These trades are increasingly not Power Purchase Agreements ("PPAs") which are considered physical and non-reportable under Dodd Frank towards Virtual Power Purchase Agreements ("VPPAs") which are reportable. That brings a whole new range of participants into the reporting world. I see a number of firms recommending hiring a third party reporting entity - DCM's advice is that this may be overkill and and unnecessary expense.
The second area is non-US entities becoming more involved in the US swap market. The reduction in liquidity for OTC swaps has created a business opportunity for firms that feel they have the capital and knowledge to capture customer business that may require reportable components to the transaction. In many cases, they come from jurisdictions where the equivalent of the swap dealer de minimis calculation have significantly different inclusion of financial products. The greatest challenge appears to be translating what is required and how industry standard practices apply to these companies in the US environment. Some companies have found they can adopt existing non-US compliance processes with a reduction in process complexity rather than building new processes from scratch.
So, from the ashes of the USA compliance consulting environment, Dodd Frank may arise anew for the commodity market. We are not sure this is necessarily the ascent of a great new world but it does mean there may be changes in the offing for financial products the US commodity markets.