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CNBC reports:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted unanimously to propose a rule for the registration and regulation of security-based swap execution facilities.

A swap execution facility, or SEF, is an electronic trading platform that allows participants to buy and sell swaps. A swap is a contract through which two parties exchange the cash flows or liabilities from two different financial instruments. 

Swaps are a very large part of the derivatives market, and they are used to manage risk. For example, one of the largest markets is for interest rate swaps. These are contracts in which one stream of future interest payments is exchanged for another.

You can also use swaps to manage market risk.  

There are literally trillions of dollars in derivatives and swaps in the market. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or the CFTC, regulates futures swaps, including interest rate swaps, and the swap execution facilities…

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