Financial Regulatory Forum

First wave of U.S. “living wills” provides a blueprint for the industry

By Bora Yagiz

NEW YORK, July 2 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The biggest U.S. banks and foreign banks with U.S. operations will show regulators and the world this week how they are not “too big to fail.”

On Monday U.S. bank holding companies with $250 billion or more in total nonbank assets and foreign-based bank holding companies with $250 billion or more in total U.S. nonbank assets are due to submit resolution plans, known as the “living wills” to the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.  (more…)

Suit against U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could force it to define limits to its authority, says banking industry lawyer

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, June 29 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Even if a small bank’s lawsuit challenging the authority and leadership of U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fails in court, it could force the bureau to publicly define its limits, a top banking industry lawyer said.

Joseph Barloon, a partner at Skadden Arps in Washington, said the bureau could be forced to say what it can and cannot do, and provide the banking industry some guidance on the agency’s positions on issues such as mortgage lending. (more…)

U.S. state oversight of small investment advisers takes effect; exams and enforcement loom

By Jason Wallace

SAN DIEGO/NEW YORK, June 28 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A long anticipated and well-publicized deadline for “the switch” is here. According to recent estimates, 2,500 investment advisers with less than $100 million of regulatory assets under management will make the switch from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversight to registration and in one or more states, with the prospect of more frequent exams and vigorous enforcement.
Today’s deadline requires the firm to be registered in the applicable states and withdraw its SEC registration by the end of the day. Although the proverbial switch has been pulled, the regulatory changes have just begun. Newly transitioned mid-sized advisers will now face an imminent regulatory exam and be required to comply with unique state compliance requirements. (more…)

Barclays may have “early bird discount” in Libor cases

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK/LONDON, June 28 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The $453 million settlement Wednesday between Barclays and UK and U.S. officials over the manipulation of a global interest-rate setting formula may be the first in a series of big-money settlements, and those who strike a deal later may face steeper terms.

“I think additional settlements with the other [banks potentially involved in the conduct] are likely,” said Peter Henning, a former U.S. federal prosecutor and enforcement lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission who teaches law at Wayne State University in Detroit. (more…)

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…)

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