UPDATE 1-U.S. retail forex watchdog may change leverage rules

Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:56pm EST
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By Douwe Miedema

WASHINGTON Jan 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. National Futures Association may change its rules for how much leverage retail clients trading currencies can take on, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday, after last week's emergency rescue of broker FXCM .

The Chicago-based NFA, which oversees the trading of retail foreign exchange products, said any chances would be to make sure that its leverage requirements were in line with those of exchanges that trade currency products.

"Any changes to our rules do require board approval. NFA's next board meeting is Feb. 19," the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Shares in retail currency broker FXCM lost two-thirds of their value on Tuesday as the company laid out details of a rescue loan after $200 million of losses on last week's shock removal of the cap on the Swiss franc.

NFA rules allow a leverage ratio of 50 to 1 on transactions in the Swiss franc, which means even a 2 percent move can wipe out a client's position. (Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Susan Heavey)