Financial Regulatory Forum

Authorities seek more AML scrutiny of L.A. fashion district as raid nets cartel-linked targets

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Roughly 1,000 law enforcement agents poured into the Fashion District in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday morning to raid shops and arrest nine people suspected of using businesses to launder large sums of cash generated by drug trafficking and other illicit activity, the U.S. Justice Department said. The money laundering problem in the area has prompted authorities to request a formal designation subjecting it to greater enforcement scrutiny. (more…)

Standard Chartered’s AML lapses provide crucial lessons on internal controls

By Julie DiMauro, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Standard Chartered Bank’s $300 million penalty from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for compliance failings last month highlights the importance of having effective transaction monitoring procedures to meet regulatory requirements, particularly those pertaining to high-risk clients. But what are these transaction monitoring requirements, and who is a high-risk client?

Under the terms of the order with NYDFS, London-based Standard Chartered has to suspend the processing of U.S.-dollar transactions for certain high-risk retail business clients in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates until its transaction monitoring program is enhanced. The settlement comes two years after the bank agreed to pay $667 million to a variety of U.S. regulators to resolve allegations of sanctions violations concerning transactions linked to Iran. (more…)

Bank of America’s mortgage-fraud deal yields quick impact; message may not be what enforcers wanted

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - It took just one day for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement Thursday that Bank of America would pay $16.65 billion over charges of fraudulent mortgage origination, securitization and servicing to have an impact.

But the impact was probably one of the last things Holder wanted to see as a result of the deal. (more…)

U.S. regulators ease credit risk rules on guarantees for banks using advanced approach

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Three major U.S. regulatory agencies have eased requirements under the advanced approach risk-based capital rules by removing a key requirement concerning guarantees provided by counterparties eligible for recognition as credit risk mitigants. The final rule , agreed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, modified the definition of “eligible guarantee” for purposes of the advanced approach risk-based capital rules by removing the requirement that an eligible guarantee be provided by an “eligible guarantor” for all exposures other than securitization exposures. (more…)

Effective training a weak link in many compliance programs – survey

By Emmanuel Olaoye and Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Firms, especially those in the financial services sector, have improved their compliance and ethics training programs but are still being challenged in measuring their programs’ effectiveness, two researchers told Thomson Reuters Compliance Complete on Wednesday.

And the people driving the programs, often in chief compliance officer or roles of similar function, are still being challenged by limited resources and difficulties in making a business case for the firm’s investment, said the researchers, Mary Bennett and Ingrid Freeden of Navex Global. (more…)

EXCLUSIVE: Private sector struggles to comply with new, sector-focused U.S. sanctions on Russia

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

ST.LOUIS/NEW YORK, July 31, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - New and more narrowly targeted U.S. financial sanctions against Russia have created headaches for Wall Street as banks and securities firms struggle to comply, industry sources said. The European Union is weighing similar measures.

The so-called “Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List,” or SSI List, is the first of its kind and was announced by President Barack Obama on July 16.  (more…)

Internal Audit & the Four Cs: Culture, Conduct, Corporate Governance and Customer Outcomes

By Michael Cowan, Regulatory Intelligence Analyst, Thomson Reuters

NEW YORK, July 30, 2014 - Corporate governance and culture have moved into the mainstream as a result of the financial crisis, and as the global recovery takes hold, governments and regulators are keen to ensure lessons are learned. It is clear, however, that despite the increasing profile of corporate governance with regulators, shareholders and customers, and the effect it has on the health and reputation of firms, it is still an area in which many internal auditors lack a high level of involvement. (more…)

New York state proposes regulatory framework for virtual currencies

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, July 23, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) is seeking public comment on a proposed “BitLicense” regulatory framework for New York virtual currency businesses, DFS Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky said Thursday.

The proposed framework – the first on a state-wide basis in the country – will require licensees to have strong compliance and supervisory policies and procedures. (more…)

Canadian banking outlook downgraded over ‘bail-in’ move, adding to recent financial stability concerns

By Daniel Seleanu, Compliance Complete

TORONTO, July 17, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) -  In yet another worrying sign for Canada’s financial sector, Moody’s Investors Service has lowered its outlook for the Canadian banking system from “stable” to “negative” over uncertainty about government willingness to bail out banks during a crisis. It follows a pair of recent warnings issued by the Bank of Canada (BOC) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), both of which highlighted the growing risk of stress posed by runaway consumer debt and property prices.

 

Moody’s negative outlook reflected the rating agency’s pessimism over Canada’s plan to implement a “bail-in” regime that would avoid taxpayer-funded bank bailouts by shifting some of the burden to bondholders. It would allow banks to convert some of their debt into to equity during a crisis.

(more…)

Canada’s financial system vulnerable to overheated housing market, central bank says

By Daniel Seleanu, Compliance Complete

TORONTO, July 1, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Canada’s overheated housing market represents a significant risk to the stability of its financial system, the country’s central bank has warned.

In its recently released Financial System Review (FSR) (PDF), the Bank of Canada (BOC) warned that while the system was stable overall, it remained vulnerable to several risks that could trigger a disorderly market correction. The economic and financial consequences of such a correction would be severe, the BOC predicted.  (more…)

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