Financial Regulatory Forum

Ontario Securities Commission to review exempt market regime after calls for expansion

By Daniel Seleanu in Toronto

ONTARIO, June 28 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Ontario Securities Commission has launched a review of its prospectus-exempt distribution framework, following industry calls to open the exempt market to more investors. The review will look for inspiration to this year’s U.S. JOBS Act legislation on small-business capital raising, the commission said. (more…)

FINRA’s new suitability rule looms, with expanded customer-information requirements

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, June 27 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - FINRA’s new suitability rule expanding customer information requirements and applying them to more transactions the is set to go into effect July 9, after delays requested by firms to get more time to adapt.

The rules will require a broker dealer or their associated persons to have a “reasonable basis” to believe a recommended transaction is suitable for the customer, based on information obtained through “reasonable diligence” to understand a customer’s investment profile.” (more…)

New U.S. court rulings may add to costs, risks of finance industry regulatory enforcement

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, June 26 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Two court rulings last week may raise the enforcement burden for the financial services industry and its regulators.

A Brooklyn federal judge suggested that for regulatory targets of the Securities and Exchange Commission, forcing the agency to take them to court could end up costing less than settling before litigation is begun, depending on legal fees and other considerations, because its ability to seek compensation in court is limited. (more…)

FINRA’s know-your-customer and suitability rules require brokerage changes, new strategies

By Morris Simkin, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

NEW YORK, June 25 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Know-Your-Customer Rule (FINRA Rule 2090) and a new Suitability Rule (FINRA Rule 2111). When these rules are read together, the information required of a customer is materially expanded, even in the case of institutional investors. These new rules, effective July 9, 2012, are quite complex; FINRA has issued three regulatory notices to explain them. These new rules are discussed below together with implications for brokerage firms. (more…)

New U.S. capital framework may prove burdensome for small banks

By Bora Yagiz

NEW YORK, June 25 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - As part of an effort to bring the United States in line with the international standards of Basel III, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), on June 8, 2012, jointly proposed three rules dubbed together as the integrated regulatory capital framework.

Two of these rules, namely the proposal on Basel III, and the proposal on Standardized Approach (the approach used by small banks) would modify standards for risk-weighted assets calculation, set new minimum capital requirements and refine capital quality through various eligibility restrictions for all banks, savings associations, bank holding companies (BHC) with greater than $500 million of assets, and all savings and loan holding companies (SLHC). (more…)

Record-setting bank forfeiture at ING ignites debate over lack of banker prosecutions

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, June 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A lack of any criminal prosecutions associated with the U.S. government’s deal last week in which Dutch bank ING agreed to forfeit a record $619 million for helping Iranians and Cubans pump billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system has drawn accusations that U.S. law enforcement agencies would rather collect fines than punish individual executives. (more…)

Gupta insider case puts focus on monitoring board members, financial-crisis challenges

Rajat GuptaBy Julie DiMauro and Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, June 18 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The insider-trading conviction of Rajat Gupta, a former McKinsey group chairman and a-list board member, had federal prosecutors and securities regulators glowing. But companies face stiff challenges protecting their boards from breaches confidentiality by directors and the reputational and other damages that ensue, consultants and lawyers said.

The conviction also draws a contrast with the relative lack of high-level prosecutions stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, which analysts said was rooted in practices harder to establish a case on.  (more…)

Beyond the numbers: do banks manage risk?

By Rachel Wolcott

LONDON, June 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - It may seem like a subtle difference, but most of what banks call ‘risk management’ is often more akin to ‘risk measurement’. It is a myth that banks are in possession of fancy gadgetry that allows them to measure risk on a minute-by-minute basis from a specialised risk-control tower and react to it effectively, thus averting catastrophe. Instead, the financial crisis and trading losses, such as JPMorgan’s $2 billion blow-up in May, have shown that by the time banks measure and understand their risks, it is too late. Risk management is not about controlling risk, but about offsetting its impact after the fact.

Far from being a powerful high-tech unit within a firm that is charged with hedging risks on a macro basis — the way, for example, that JPMorgan’s chief investment office has been portrayed — risk management is more fragmented and limited. That is why many banks were badly hit when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. It was just too difficult to get a picture of what their positions, exposures and risks were, let alone manage them. This is because, in many cases, banks’ risk management still has more to do with number crunching and measuring risk for compliance and regulatory purposes, such as regulatory capital requirements, credit value adjustment and counterparty risk. Managing risk, however, is something few firms do well, and they are certainly unable to do so in a holistic way. (more…)

U.S. Justice Department targeting shop landlords in fight against medical marijuana industry

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, June 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A civil statute designed primarily to seize the assets of drug trafficking organizations is now being wielded by federal prosecutors in California in an unconventional and little-noticed attack on medical-marijuana shops in the state.

Prosecutors have brought more than a dozen lawsuits seeking the forfeiture of commercial properties that house marijuana shops. The actions pressure owners to either evict these controversial tenants or face costly legal battles or the loss of their buildings. (more…)

Big banks can be shrunk — here’s how

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, June 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A need to break up big banks is one of the several lessons policy makers should have learned from the financial crisis that have either been ignored or forgotten, according to Phil Angelides, who chaired the congressionally appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

If the largest banks can only be run so recklessly that they harm the economy as well as themselves, they should be broken up, Angelides said in a talk at the Center for National Policy, an independent Washington D.C. think tank. (more…)

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