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When Bear Stearns Cos. was collapsing in early 2008, U.S. officials struggling to contain the damage feared fallout from the bank’s derivatives trades could devastate already roiling markets. But they couldn’t tell how bad things could get, or who would be hit the hardest, because at the time banks didn’t have to report the details of their swaps transactions.

Nearly a decade later, the regulator in charge of overseeing the $483 trillion global swaps market says it still often initially gets only a murky view of those transactions. That’s in part because the rules devised to solve the problem have created a patchwork system where data is collected under different formats and standards. As soon as this week, Commodity Futures Trading Commission acting chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo aims to change that by announcing an effort to rewrite the rules to make the data more usable.

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