Nonfinancial companies may be the over-the-counter derivative users least impacted by Dodd-Frank, but they're also the group that's least prepared to comply with the new requirements almost certain to come their way.

The final form of the regulations regarding OTC derivatives is still conjecture, because government agencies including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and banking regulators are just starting the process of hammering them out ahead of a July 2011 deadline. Dodd-Frank exempts corporate end users from having to clear OTC derivative transactions or post margin against them, although concerns have emerged recently that the CFTC may have the authority to impose a margin requirement. (See Corporate End Users in Jeopardy.)

Even if the concerns about margin requirements from the CFTC evaporate, companies may find such requirements coming at them from another direction. Dodd-Frank mandates that banks hold more capital against their assets, especially OTC derivatives. To limit the amount of their regulatory capital, some banks are likely to require end-user customers to enter into credit support annexes (CSA), which stipulate collateral support between counterparties.

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