Financial Regulatory Forum

U.S. Treasury report highlights laundering risk of cash deposits

By Brett Wolf
June 17, 2015

Between 2008 and 2012 a group of Florida-based drug traffickers tied to a Mexican cartel laundered their dirty cash by depositing it into accounts at a local branch of a national bank. The traffickers’ Texas-based suppliers then withdrew the money from the accounts as cash and turned it over to couriers who smuggled it into Mexico.

COLUMN: “Swindle & Fraud” – America’s great tradition, from Lapham’s Quarterly

June 16, 2015

It is easy to fall into the belief that we are living in special times; that greed, avarice, fraud, and swindle are at new heights; that bankers are worse than they’ve ever been; that public trust in them is at historic lows. Nearly every day we learn of yet another major fine imposed on a bank for some wrongdoing, all this while the leaders of finance lament the burdensome rules they must now work under.
Pity them, and pity us, but life has always been that way, or at least that is the lesson drawn in reading the latest edition of Lapham’s Quarterly “Swindle & Fraud.” We are reminded that humans have a long history of behaving badly, and efforts to change that reality have usually run aground. Deception, lies, fraud and confidence tricksters are part of our fabric, whether in business or finance, on a New York street corner, Barnum’s circus, or ancient Greece. (more…)

Lessons learned: BHP Billiton fined for providing public officials luxury travel

By Guest Contributor
June 3, 2015

By Julie DiMauro, Regulatory Intelligence

NEW YORK, June 3, 2015 (Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence) - The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday charged global resources company BHP Billiton with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when it sponsored foreign government officials as guests at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Finance, legal professionals question impact of OSC Whistleblower Program on ‘culture of compliance’

By Guest Contributor
June 2, 2015

By Helen Chan, Compliance Complete

TORONTO, June 2, 2015 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) recently closed the consultation period on its proposed whistleblower program, but debate over the draft rules appears to be far from over. Finance and legal professionals have raised concerns over the program, particularly the absence of requiring eligible whistleblowers to report misconduct to internal compliance personnel prior to approaching the OSC.
Modeled after the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, the OSC’s Whistleblower Program seeks to encourage individuals with information of financial misconduct at their firms to come forward. (more…)

Former U.S. CFTC chair criticizes Volcker call to merge agency with SEC

By emmanuelolaoye
May 20, 2015

A former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has questioned Paul Volcker’s call to merge U.S. regulatory agencies under the leadership of the Federal Reserve.

SEC examinations grow aggressive, sometimes intrusive – industry panel

May 15, 2015

Gone are the kinder, gentler days when it comes to onsite examinations by the Securities Exchange Commission, say senior compliance officers, who portray the agency’s recent behavior as much more aggressive, and at times even intrusive on a firm’s time and resources.

U.S. dollar role in sanctions, AML fight threatened by looming rival payments system

May 14, 2015

A looming erosion of U.S. dollar dominance in international payments threatens to cripple the worldwide reach of financial sanctions and anti-money laundering controls led by the United States and its allies. This would compel Western financial institutions to improve data and analysis about their customers to guard against tainted money, officials said.

Training as a tool for promoting “mood in the middle” compliance

By Guest Contributor
May 12, 2015

By Julie DiMauro, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The training and education programs offered business staff by compliance departments can be an important tool for setting the right “mood in the middle,” an ethical tone demonstrating the embedding of a firm’s compliance objectives within its culture, according to industry participants at last week’s Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk Summit in New York.
Dozens of recent and expensive compliance failures illustrate that policies alone do not make an effective compliance culture. Speakers emphasized the importance of mid-level managers, and not just the top of company hierarchy, in conveying the necessary ethical and compliance standards. Regular and ad hoc compliance training sessions, used to keep business personnel apprised of the firm’s policies and procedures as well as regulatory events, are a good venue for that.  (more…)

INTERVIEW: E*Trade bank growth limited by U.S. regulatory asset threshold – CRO Mike Pizzi

April 21, 2015

The Dodd-Frank $50 billion asset threshold used to categorize systemically important banks has been a strategic business factor for E*Trade, the online broker, and unless there are compelling factors to breach the mark, the firm will continue to limit expansion of its balance sheet, chief risk officer, Mike Pizzi, said in an interview this week. (more…)

Shortcomings seen in U.S. nonbank systemic-risk process for insurers

April 21, 2015

Critics of the the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s designation of nonbanks as systemically important got a chance last month to point to what they viewed as shortcomings in its approach, while also offering clues for possible improvements, during a U.S. Senate hearing on the issue.