Farm co-ops, small banks and the local gas company may be toasting U.S. regulators whose votes yesterday freed them from strict Dodd-Frank Act oversight of dealers in the $708 trillion global swaps market.

Those and other types of firms rely on trading and holding swaps — financial instruments they use to hedge risk or speculate. Because of a 2010 proposal that any company entering into swaps worth more than $100 million in a year could be treated as a highly regulated dealer, so-called end users fought an effort to include them in a new system of capital and collateral requirements designed to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission approved a final rule to start with an $8-billion-a-year threshold that will drop to $3 billion within five years unless incoming data suggest a different course. The threshold increase means firms with a notional value of swaps below $8 billion in the preceding 12 months won't be considered a dealer.

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