Markets and Trading

Jenner & Block regularly represents clients in a wide range of commodities, securities and derivatives matters. Attorneys in our Chambers Global and US-ranked practice represent market participants in criminal, civil and self-regulatory organization investigations; investors in derivatives, commodities and security trading litigation; and firms with trade secret, trading technology and other disputes.  We counsel clients in transactional matters ranging from the protection of trading strategies, source code and other intellectual property to virtual asset issues. We also have unparalleled experience in commodity broker bankruptcy and insolvency matters, with members of the firm serving in prominent roles in every significant commodity broker bankruptcy proceeding since the 1980s.

Representative engagements of our practice group members include:

Litigation and Investigations

  • Defended a major food manufacturer in litigation in which the CFTC asserted novel theories of liability for alleged manipulation of the wheat markets, as well as defense against related class action complaints.
  • Represent major securities clearing organization in connection with investigations and litigations arising from the January 2021 temporary suspension by Robinhood and other brokers of trading in certain meme stocks, including in a multi-district putative class action, In re Jan. 2021 Short Squeeze Trading Litigation.
  • Represent international grain marketing company in connection with CFTC and DOJ investigation into, as well as internal review of, derivatives market trading activities.
  • Defend an exchange in multi-district putative class action litigation, In re Chi. Bd. Options Exch. Volatility Index Manipulation Antitrust Litig., arising from allegations of manipulative trading in volatility-related derivatives.
  • Defended CME Group Inc. in MF Global Holdings, Ltd. Investment Litigation, a multi-district class action litigation brought by commodity customers seeking $1.6 billion, and investigations arising out of the MF Global case.
  • Defended self-regulatory organization in litigations relating to regulatory oversight of futures market participants.  Effex Capital, LLC v. National Futures Association, 933 F.3d 882 (7th Cir. 2019). Troyer v. National Futures Association, 981 F.3d 612 (7th Cir. 2020).
  • Represented former trader at a multinational financial services company in connection with civil and criminal federal investigation arising from trading of currency futures, options, and other derivative products.
  • Served as counsel to appellate panel in an exchange-adjudicated arbitration appeal involving allegations of spoofing.
  • Represented a leading asset manager in litigation alleging that interest rate swaps structured by AIG Financial Products terminated as a result of AIG’s collapse.
  • Successfully defended a self-regulatory organization in lawsuit asserting defamation, due process and other tort claims arising from regulatory activities.
  • Represented individual targets of criminal and CFTC Libor and IDSAfix market manipulation investigations.
  • Represented a high-frequency trading firm in trial, appeal and arbitration of non-compete and trade secret (trading strategies) infringement claims seeking hundreds of millions in damages.
  • Successfully defended traders in a market regulation action charging non-competitive trading.
  • Represented trading firm in SEC investigation relating to U.S. Treasuries markets.
  • Represented a mutual fund sponsor in connection with market timing investigations by market regulators.
  • Represented the National Futures Association in investigations and litigations arising out of the Peregrine Financial Group collapse following the discovery that Peregrine’s founder had stolen more than $200 million in customer funds.
  • Defended financial services company against Investment Company Act claims and derivative claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty in connection with affiliate transactions.
  • Obtained a $100 million-plus recovery for an investment bank in a dispute with major financial institutions involving credit default swaps on CDOs.
  • Represented a hedge fund in In re Mutual Fund Trading investigation, several mutual fund market-timing investigations by various SEC regional offices and the N.Y. Attorney General.
  • Represented a large financial services company against claims of excessive advisor fees and misleading proxy solicitations.

Transactional Matters

  • Counsel high-frequency trading firms on trading technology, corporate structuring, trade secret, compensation, employment and compliance issues.
  • Advise clients in connection with cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, including securities, tax, insurance and regulatory issues.
  • Representing a trading firm in establishing an overseas office, developing and utilizing high speed data networks, exchange listing agreements and other matters.
  • Advise clients on regulatory issues related to virtual currency payments.
  • Advise clients regarding derivatives-related provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, including swaps regulation, clearing and default issues.
  • Provide securities, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and corporate governance counseling to major commodity and securities exchanges.
  • Advised proprietary traders in connection with transitions to new trading firms and disputed rights to trading software and strategies.
  • Counsel clients regarding OTC derivatives matters, including ISDA master agreements and credit support annexes, master power purchase agreements and related gas and power annexes.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency

  • Represented CME Group Inc. in the MF Global Inc. bankruptcy, include advice concerning implementation of the first-ever bankruptcy transfer of undermargined commodity positions and related customer collateral to other commodity brokers.
  • Represented the trustee of special purpose FCM and investment advisor Sentinel Management Group, including pursuit of claims against the company’s insiders, auditors, lender and securities brokers that sold Sentinel allegedly unsuitable investments.
  • Representing the National Futures Association and CME Group in connection with the Peregrine Financial Group bankruptcy proceeding.  Peregrine commenced a commodity broker bankruptcy proceeding following the discovery that its founder had misappropriated more than $200 million in customer funds.
  • Represented the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for Refco, LLC, acting as his special counsel for all derivatives matters, including the bankruptcy sale of Refco’s FCM business and the seamless transfer of accounts and more than $3 billion in customer assets in the first successful going concern sale of a commodity broker under the Bankruptcy Code.
  • Advise major securities clearing organization concerning member default procedures and protections.
  • Represented the bankruptcy trustee for Griffin Trading Company in litigation against the commodity broker’s owners, which the court determined breached their fiduciary duties owed to customers when they used segregated assets to meet margin calls.
  • A member of the firm served as chapter 7 trustee of Stotler and Company.  The firm litigated numerous matters of first impression in Stotler’s case, including putative customer priority claims brought by a special master appointed to represent the interests of defrauded investors in commodity pools managed by an affiliate, and Oxford Organisation, Ltd. v. Peterson, a leading decision on constructive trusts in commodity broker cases.