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As Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 and regulators wrote rules to implement the changes it mandated in over-the-counter derivatives trading, companies have been lobbying long and hard to protect their ability to use such derivatives to hedge their risks. And while they won the battle, they may have lost the war.

As the Dodd-Frank rules and other regulatory changes take effect for dealers, the cost of using OTC derivatives is expected to rise, a development that could push corporates to alter the way they hedge in spite of the exemption they won from many Dodd-Frank rules.

Traditionally, corporates have gone directly to their dealers—their banks—to put on over-the-counter (OTC) trades to hedge such exposures as foreign-exchange and interest-rate risk. Such bilateral trades with dealers usually weren’t cleared. Companies use OTC derivatives rather than exchange-traded products because one of their key goals is to achieve a structure that closely replicates the time frame and cash flows of the risk being hedged so that the derivative transaction qualifies for hedge accounting.

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