Kathryn M. Trkla

Partner

Overview

Kathryn (Katie) M. Trkla is a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP. She works on a variety of matters for futures commission merchants and securities brokerage firms, institutional investors, professional trading firms, commercial hedgers, domestic and foreign exchanges, clearinghouses, and other clients. Katie has close to 35 years’ experience in the derivatives and securities industries, including 11 years with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) where she was senior vice president and associate general counsel before joining Foley in 2000. She is a member of the firm’s Securities, Commodities & Exchange Regulation Practice within the Securities Enforcement & Litigation Practice, and the firm’s Blockchain Task Force, Business Law Department, and Energy Industry Team.

Katie’s experience ranges from representing clients on matters before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, and self-regulatory organizations; analyzing regulatory proposals; counseling clients on the implications of legislative and rule changes; and providing general regulatory counsel. Her deep experience and background qualify her to provide a broad and unique perspective on the issues and regulations facing the financial markets and market participants.

In 2007, Katie conducted an international assessment of Armenia’s securities market regulatory framework as part of an initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development to strengthen the banking, insurance and securities market infrastructure in the country. Her work involved assessing the degree to which the regulatory framework in Armenia complies with 30 international principles of securities market regulation developed by the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO).

During her tenure at the CBOT, Katie represented the exchange at the annual meetings of the Consultative Committee of IOSCO. From 1997 to 1998, she chaired a special subcommittee of the IOSCO Consultative Committee, which prepared a report on best practices for the design of futures contracts and exchange market surveillance programs.

Recognition

Katie has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system. She was ranked nationally by Chambers USA 2018 in the area of Derivatives. She has also been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2007 in the area of derivatives and futures law and was named Chicago’s 2014 and 2019 Lawyer of the Year for derivatives and futures law.*

Education

Katie is a 1983 cum laude graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, where she was the coordinating executive editor of the Journal of International Law & Business. She graduated with a B.A. in public affairs in 1980 from the University of Chicago, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Admissions

Katie is a member of the Illinois Bar, American Bar Association, and Chicago Bar Association.

Leadership Positions and Professional Affiliations

  • Vice Chair, ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee (appointed 2015)
  • Co-Chair, ABA Part 190 Subcommittee (2015-present) (The committee is comprised of members of the ABA Derivatives and Futures Law and Business Bankruptcy Committees; it developed and has submitted to the CFTC comprehensive proposed amendments to the CFTC Part 190 Commodity Broker Bankruptcy Rules)
  • Chair, ABA Innovative Digitized Products and Processes Subcommittee (2018)
  • Member, Futures Industry Association (“FIA”) Law & Compliance Executive Committee (2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 terms)
  • Day Chair, ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting (2013)
  • Program Co-Chair, ABA Business Law Section, Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting (2010 and 2011)
  • Member, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Working Group on Financial Markets
  • Past Chair, Futures and Derivatives Law Committee, Chicago Bar Association (1997-1998)

Selected Publications

  • Co-author, “Derivatives Regulation – 2019 Cumulative Supplement,” Wolters Kluwer (Oct. 2018)
  • “Commodity Broker Bankruptcies and the ABA Part 190 Project,” ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting Materials (Jan. 2018)
  • “Derivatives Clearing Developments,” Advanced Swaps & Other Derivatives 2015
  • Co-Author, “Sentinel Decision Could Erode Customer Protections,” Futures Industry Magazine (FIA) (Mar. 2013)
  • “Swap Execution Requirements,” Advanced Swaps & Other Derivatives 2013
  • "Clearing and Trading Requirements for Swaps," Advanced Swaps & Other Derivatives 2012
  • "Clearing of Swaps and Security-Based Swaps" and "Trading Requirements for Swaps and Security-Based Swaps and Customer Clearing and Trade Execution Documentation," Advanced Swaps & Other Derivatives 2011
  • "Trading and Clearing of Swaps: Regulatory Considerations for Hedge Funds," Hedge Funds 2011: Strategies and Structures for an Evolving Marketplace
  • "Discussion Regarding the Commentary on Hedging "Event" Risk," Review of Futures Markets (Kent State University/Institute for Financial Markets; Sept. 2008)
  • Co-Author, "The Regulation of Specialists and Implications for the Future," The Business Lawyer (Nov. 2005)

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “Clearing/Customer Protection/CCPs,” ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting (2018)
  • Co-Chair, “Derivatives 101/102,” FIA Law & Compliance Conference (May 2017)
  • Speaker, “Swap Execution Methods, SEFs, Give-up and Reporting,” PLI Conference on Advanced Swaps & Other Derivatives (Oct. 2017)
  • Panelist, “Responding to an Investigation or 4g Request,” FIA Law & Compliance Conference (May 2016)
  • Panelist, “Clearing” and “Swap Execution,” PLI Conference on Advanced Swaps & Other Derivatives (Oct. 2016) (chair or panelist for other panels 2012 – 2015)
  • Panelist, “The Basics of Customer On-Boarding Post Dodd-Frank,” FIA Law & Compliance Conference (June 2015)
  • Chair, “Crisis Management,” ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting (Jan. 2015)
  • Panelist, “Clearing and Customer Protection,” ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting (2014)
  • Panelist, “Ownership and Control Reports,” and Team Captain, “Compliance Rapid Fire,” FIA Law & Compliance Conference (May 2014)
  • Co-Chair, “Litigation and Enforcement Update,” FIA Law & Compliance Conference (May 2013)
  • Chair, "Special Considerations for OTC Clearing," Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) International Symposium and Training Program (Oct. 2014) (Moderator for other panels offered in prior years at this annual program)
  • Panelist, "Basics of Give-Ups and Back office operations" and "Soup to Nuts, " FIA Law & Compliance Conference (May 2012)
  • Panelist, “Trading Issues Relating to Swaps Under Dodd-Frank,” PLI Conference on Hedge Funds 2011: Strategies and Structures for an Evolving Marketplace (Sept. 2011)
  • Panelist, "Execution Systems, Clearinghouses, Trading Rules and Markets," FIA Financial Reform Forum: Impact on Derivatives Market Participants (Aug. 2010)
  • Co-Presenter, "Bankruptcy Issues for Derivatives and Securities Markets," presentation to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Working Group on Financial Markets (Oct. 2008)

*The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

Representative Matters

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Represented a leading commodity broker-dealer in a Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) investigation focused on whether traders ran ahead of clients' block trades.
This case arises from the collapse and bankruptcy of Sentinel Management Group, a multi-billion dollar investment advisory firm. In this case, I represent ABN AMRO Clearing, LLC, Rand Financial LLC, FCStone LLC, Crossland LLC, Velocity Futures LLC and Cadent Futures LLC in consolidated federal court litigation. Foley acted as senior trial counsel for our client group of 6 futures commission merchants, and served as the lead counsel for a joint defense group of 12 futures commission merchants. Due to the significant federal statutory issues at stake, these cases were withdrawn from the Bankruptcy Court several years ago, and have been pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. All of these firms have been sued by Fred Grede, the bankruptcy trustee of Sentinel Management Group, who seeks a claw back of more than $300 Million in the aggregate ($200 Million from our clients alone) which represents the assets distributed to these firms by Sentinel at the time of bankruptcy, or shortly before. Our clients have defended the case on the grounds that the distributed funds are customer segregated assets which are held in trust by Sentinel and which are not the property of the bankrupt estate. The Trustee claims that Sentinel's wrongdoing vitiates the trust. The case involves conflicting statutory provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, the Commodity Exchange Act and the Investment Advisor's Act of 1940, and raises significant and unprecedented issues pertaining to the treatment of customer segregated assets in insolvency scenarios. The case has been the focus of attention by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Futures Association and the Securities and Exchange Commission, all of whom have filed amicus briefs. The FCStone matter is currently on appeal to the Seventh Circuit, while the other matters move forward at the district court level. The cases are being briefed on appeal and in the lower court.
StreetTracks Gold ETF was the first commodity-based ETF and broke new ground in expanding the regulatory jurisdiction of the SEC to encompass shares of this ETF, which represents an undivided interest in actual gold bullion. Foley assisted the sponsor, the World Gold Council, in obtaining regulatory approval for this product from the SEC. Subsequently, we obtained SEC approval to trade options on this ETF, which necessitated a memorandum of understanding between the SEC and CFTC regarding their respective jurisdictions.