Rita M. Molesworth

Partner

New York
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019-6099

Rita M. Molesworth is a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department and the Asset Management Department. Rita co-chairs the Firm’s Financial Institutions/Regulatory Practice Group and is a member of the Capital Markets Practice Group. Rita is active in advising clients on the implementation of the Dodd Frank Act and has substantial experience with the Commodity Exchange Act and U.S. securities laws applicable to hedge funds.

Rita advises commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisors, investment advisers, hedge fund managers, futures commission merchants and other businesses on futures and other derivatives and general corporate and securities law matters.

Rita is active in assisting clients in U.S. and non-U.S. offerings of public and private commodity pools and hedge funds employing stand-alone and master-feeder structures. She also assists clients with derivatives (Commodity Exchange Act) and securities regulatory compliance. She also advises clients on CFTC and NFA requirements with respect to privacy and cybersecurity.

Chambers USA (2022) ranks Rita in Band 1 nationally in the area of Investment Funds: Regulatory & Compliance, ranks her among the nation’s leading practitioners in the area of Capital Markets: Derivatives and recognizes her on the “Spotlight Table” for regulatory excellence in the area of Capital Markets: Derivatives. Rita was recently named Lawyer of the Year for Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law (New York City) by Best Lawyers 2023. Her deep experience has been recognized by Expert Guides and The International Who's Who of Private Funds Lawyers, where she has been named as being among the world’s leading lawyers for private funds.

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Highlights

Rita M. Molesworth is a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department and the Asset Management Department. Rita co-chairs the Firm’s Financial Institutions/Regulatory Practice Group and is a member of the Capital Markets Practice Group. Rita is active in advising clients on the implementation of the Dodd Frank Act and has substantial experience with the Commodity Exchange Act and U.S. securities laws applicable to hedge funds.

Selected Significant Matters

  • Advising a major cryptocurrency exchange platform in connection with Commodity Exchange Act compliance.
  • Advising swap dealer with respect to expanding its contemplated activities.
  • Advise on mapping compliance with internal control requirements.
  • Regularly advise market participants on exchange trading rules, often in real-time.
  • Advise on novel financial products and structures for U.S. and non-U.S. companies.
  • Ongoing representation of commodity pool operator and commodity pools offered by large financial services institutions and hedge fund managers.
  • Assist numerous clients in classifying whether the instruments they trade are swaps subject to regulation by the CFTC or security-based swaps subject to regulation by the SEC.
  • Assist numerous market participants in determining whether they have to register with the CFTC or may avail themselves of a registration exemption.
  • Assist numerous hedge fund managers with registration with both the SEC and the CFTC and provide assistance with all aspects of ongoing compliance and reporting (Forms PF, CPO-PQR, etc.).
  • Advised a major university on Commodity Exchange Act matters, including seeking a no-action position from the CFTC.

Prior Experience

Rita has significant prior experience in the futures industry having worked at the National Futures Association as well as with energy trading companies on the trading floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Selected Professional and Business Activities

Rita is a member (and immediate past Chair) of the ABA's Derivatives and Futures Law Committee. She is a member of the New York City Bar's Committee on Futures and Derivatives Regulation and served as its Chair from 2003 to 2006 and its Secretary from 1997 to 2003. Additionally, Rita is a past member of the New York City Bar’s Private Investment Funds and Energy Committees.

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission appointed Rita as an Independent Compliance Monitor in connection with settlements between those agencies and the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Rita has served on the Executive Committee of the Law & Compliance Division of the Futures Industry Association, is a member of the Board of Editors of the Futures and Derivatives Law Report and a member of the Managed Funds Association’s CTA/CPO Forum and its Outside Counsel Forum. She publishes articles and is a regular speaker on educational panels with respect to derivatives and investment management issues. Rita has also taught a course on Derivatives Law and Regulation at Columbia Law School.

Publications / News / Events

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