On December 23, 2014, the US government agencies responsible for promulgating regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act’s Volcker Rule issued guidance regarding the confidentiality of certain metrics data reported to the agencies.

The Volcker Rule generally prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading or sponsoring or acquiring ownership interests in private equity funds. Mandatory compliance deadlines start in July 2015 and the agencies have slowly been issuing guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions that appear on each of the agencies’ websites.

The December 23 addition to the Frequently Asked Questions concerns confidential treatment of information submitted in compliance with Appendix A of the Volcker Rule. Appendix A requires banking entities to report to the regulators certain periodic reports containing quantitative information on their permitted proprietary trading activities such as underwriting and hedging.

Under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the public generally may request access to information generated by or submitted to a federal government agency. There are many exceptions to this general rule, such as classified information or information pertaining to criminal investigations. In addition, there is an exemption for proprietary commercial or financial information.

In the December 23 question and answer, the regulators stated that in their reports, banking entities should identify information which they believe to be covered by the FOIA exemption for proprietary commercial or financial information, or any other applicable FOIA exemption, and request confidential FOIA treatment for that information. The regulators also stated that they expect to maintain the confidential treatment of the submitted quantitative information “to the extent permitted by law.”

Access the banking, securities and commodities regulators’ Frequently Asked Questions.

Previous posts on Volcker Rule Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Regulators provide more Volcker guidance
  2. Volcker Rule FAQs Updated by Federal Reserve Board and OCC
  3. Volcker Rule FAQs and examination guidelines released