September 23, 2016

Federal Reserve Board invites public comment on proposed rule that would strengthen existing requirements and limitations on the physical commodity activities of financial holding companies

For release at 12:00 p.m. EDT

The Federal Reserve Board on Friday invited public comment on a proposed rule that would strengthen existing requirements and limitations on the physical commodity activities of financial holding companies. The proposal would help reduce the catastrophic, legal, reputational, and financial risks that physical commodity activities pose to financial holding companies.

A limited number of firms supervised by the Board engage in physical commodity activities and investments. Some firms are permitted by law to engage in a broad range of physical commodity activities, including the extraction, storage, and transportation of commodities. Others may engage in more limited activities, such as commodities trading. The possibility of an environmental accident due to these activities presents significant risks to the firms.

Based on a broad review of firms' physical commodity activities as well as comments received on the Board's 2014 advance notice of proposed rulemaking on this matter, the proposed rule would:

  • Require firms to hold additional capital in connection with activities involving commodities for which existing laws would impose liability if the commodity were released into the environment;
  • Tighten the quantitative limit on the amount of physical commodity trading activity firms may conduct;
  • Rescind authorizations that allow firms to engage in physical commodity activities involving power plants;
  • Remove copper from the list of precious metals that all bank holding companies are permitted to own and store; and
  • Establish new public reporting requirements on the nature and extent of firms' physical commodity holdings and activities.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

For media inquiries, call 202-452-2955.

Board Votes

Last Update: October 13, 2016