NATE HOWELL is a partner in Sidley’s Chicago office in the Investment Funds practice group. He also serves as a member of Sidley’s End-User Derivatives team and the Securities Enforcement and Regulatory practice group.
Nate’s practice focuses on futures and derivatives regulation, transactions and compliance, with a core focus on Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Dodd-Frank Act matters. He also frequently advises clients on issues related to cryptocurrency, blockchain and distributed ledger technology, and tokenized assets. Nate understands the complexities of the current legislative and regulatory environment in the United States in light of the disruption caused by technology. His clients rely on him to understand all of this complexity, while providing practical and straightforward solutions.
Nate’s clients include clearing organizations, derivatives exchanges and other trading facilities, self-regulatory organizations, commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisors, futures commission merchants, introducing brokers, swap dealers, banks, hedge funds, commercial end-users of derivatives (including manufacturing and energy companies) and companies that are actively engaged in the cryptocurrency and digital assets space. He also advises a number of non-U.S. financial institutions on the cross-border aspects of U.S. derivatives regulations.
The National Law Journal named Nate to its 2018 “Cryptocurrency/Blockchain/Fintech Trailblazers” special supplement. Among other things, he was recognized for first-of-its-kind financial work on custodial issues for banks that hope to hold custody for regulated entities.
Sidley’s Investment Funds practice team has won numerous top awards as a provider of legal services to the private funds industry: two-time winner of Chambers and Partners’ “Investment Funds Team of the Year for the U.S.”; Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine’s 2014 Alpha Awards top “onshore” (U.S.) law firm serving the hedge fund industry; four-time recipient of first-tier national rankings in the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings for Private Funds/Hedge Funds Law, and Derivatives and Futures Law; and ranked in the top band for Hedge Funds by Chambers USA every year since 2008.
Representative engagements include the following:
- Representation of market infrastructure providers on regulatory issues in connection with implementation of blockchain/distributed ledger technology throughout the clearing and settlement system.
- Representation of asset managers in connection with investments in cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings and other digital asset investments.
- Representation of U.S. and non-U.S. self-regulatory organizations in connection with registration and exemption issues, rule filings, new product development, rulemaking petitions, banking relationships, industry bank capital and bankruptcy opinions and various legislative and regulatory comment letters, petitions and requests for interpretations and no-action letters.
- Counseling U.S. and non-U.S. commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors in connection with registration, exemption and compliance matters under the CEA and regulations of the CFTC.
- Counseling significant swaps market participants on major swap participant status under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act.
- Representation of derivatives dealers in connection with swap dealer registration, exemption and compliance matters under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act.
- Counseling would-be swap dealers in connection with application of the Dodd-Frank Act “de minimis” swap dealer exemption.
- Representation of financial and commercial end-users on a variety of issues under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act, including swaps clearing and trading mandates, development of swaps policies and negotiation of hedging arrangements.
- Advising commercial swaps end-users with respect to the “end-user exemption” under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act, including public company board approval requirements.
- Counseling swaps market participants on swap data reporting and recordkeeping requirements under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act.
- Advice to a variety of financial institutions on the jurisdictional boundaries between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Advice to U.S. and non-U.S. financial institutions on the extent of U.S. jurisdiction over swaps markets activities under the Dodd-Frank Act.
- Advice to major derivatives clearing organizations on Title VIII of the Dodd-Frank Act and the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures issued by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
- Advising clients on potential U.S. legislative and regulatory changes with respect to derivatives.
- Co-author of “CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(3) Pool Investors: The $1 Million Potato,” published in the March 2020 edition of the Futures & Derivatives Law Report (Thomson Reuters, publisher)
- Co-author of “CFTC Proposes Federal Position Limits on Physically-Settled Derivatives,” Sidley Update published on February 6, 2020
- Co-editor of the book Virtual Currency Regulation Review, Second Edition, and co-author of the United States chapter, September 2019 (Law Business Research Ltd., London, publisher)
- Co-editor of the book Virtual Currency Regulation Review, and co-author of the United States chapter, November 2018 (Law Business Research Ltd., London, publisher)
- Co-author of “2018 Update for Investment Advisers,” Sidley Update published on February 28, 2018
- Co-author of “CFTC Proposes Interpretation of ‘Actual Delivery’ in Connection with Virtual Currency,” Sidley Update published on December 20, 2017
- Co-author of “CFTC Proposes Rule to Clarify Registration Obligations of Foreign CPOs and CTAs,” published on September 1, 2016 in The Hedge Fund Law Report
- Author of “BNA Insights: Distributed Ledger Technology Faces Challenge of Global Standards,” published on June 20, 2016 in Bloomberg BNA’s Banking Report
- Co-author of “Regulators Adopt Margin Rules for Non-Cleared Swaps,” published in the May 2016 edition of the Futures & Derivatives Law Report (Thomson Reuters, publisher)
- Co-author of “What Corporate Treasurers Need to Know About Swap Dealer Registration,” published on January 26, 2016 in Treasury & Risk
- Co-author of “Enforcement Risk: The Long Length of the CFTC’s Reach,” published in the Winter 2015 edition of the NY Business Law Journal
- Author of “The CFTC’s Large Trader and Ownership and Control Reporting System – the Big Data Problem the CFTC Can’t Seem to Solve,” published in the December 2015 edition of the Futures & Derivatives Law Report (Thomson Reuters, publisher)
- Co-author of “CFTC Asserts Jurisdiction Over Bitcoin Derivatives,” published in the November/December 2015 edition of FinTech Law Report
- Co-author of “Swap Execution Facilities Present Opportunities and Challenges for Non-Swap Dealer Market Makers,” published in the October 2015 edition of the Futures & Derivatives Law Report (Thomson Reuters, publisher)
- Co-author of “Do Corporate Treasurers Need Derivatives Compliance Policies?” published on February 5, 2015 in Treasury & Risk
- Co-author of “Should Corporate Treasury Worry About NDF Clearing?” published on November 17, 2014 in Treasury & Risk
- Co-author of “The Duck That Broke the Camel’s Back: What SIFMA v. CFTC Means for U.S. Swaps Regulation,” published in the November 2014 edition of Futures Industry
- Co-author of “CFTC Paves Way For Broader Advertising Of Private Funds,” published on October 7, 2014 in Law360
- Co-author of “Recent Regulatory Developments Affecting Private Fund Managers,” published in the April 2011 edition of the Futures & Derivatives Law Report (Thomson Reuters, publisher)
- Co-author of “Knocking on the Clearinghouse Door – A Lawyer’s Introduction to Cleared OTC Derivatives”, published in the July/August 2010 edition of the Futures & Derivatives Law Report (Thomson Reuters, publisher)
- Co-author of the “United States / OTC Derivatives Regulation” section of Recent Developments in International Securities Law in the February 2010 edition of International Securities & Capital Markets Newsletter
- Co-author of the OTC Derivatives Regulation section of the book International Legal Developments in Review: 2009
- Author of “Futures Customer Agreements with Non-U.S. Sovereign Customers,” presented at the 2008 Futures Industry Association Law & Compliance conference
Admissions & Certifications
- Boston University School of Law, J.D., 2005 (magna cum laude, Articles Editor, Boston University Law Review)
- Westminster College of S.L.C., B.S., 2002 (summa cum laude)