Financial Regulatory Forum

Peer to peer lending: the murky future with America’s new consumer protector

By Alex Lee

NEW YORK, Jan. 25 (Business Law Currents) - With the promise of high yields, peer to peer lending is attracting record amounts from institutional investors and individual lenders alike, even in the face of a cloudy regulatory future. Potential uncertainty aside, the attraction of an estimated $2.5 trillion industry is proving too hard to pass up for investors. The two largest P2P lending companies, LendingClub and Prosper have funded loans so far to the tune of over $480 million and $290 million respectively.

By way of background, peer to peer (P2P) lending microcredit institutions sprang up in 2005 in order to provide needy borrowers with viable alternatives to normal commercial bank loans. This industry had as its backbone, the seemingly novel concept of stripping out intermediaries, such as banks, and allowing lenders and borrowers to connect to reach their own financial terms for loans via the internet. The nascent industry made significant strides when even credit-worthy borrowers were locked out of the commercial credit markets due to the credit crisis. (more…)

New Iran sanctions most threaten non-U.S. banks

* U.S. Treasury under pressure to draft tough Iran sanctions

* New law targets banks including central banks

* Impact seen strongest on non-U.S. banks

 

By Brett Wolf

ST. LOUIS, Jan 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The U.S. Treasury Department is under bipartisan pressure to draft tough rules implementing an Iranian sanctions law enacted in December. While the effect on U.S. financial institutions is likely to be minimal, foreign financial institutions may take a hit. (more…)

Corporate boards seek a few good generals- directors’ group recruits military

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Jan. 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) — The National Association of Corporate Directors has launched a program to recruit generals and admirals for membership on boards of directors, with the aim of advancing standards of professionalism and increasing diversity of perspective, the group said Thursday.

The first program will be held Tuesday, February 28 through Thursday, March 1 in Washington, DC. Interested veteran and active-duty military flag and general officers can request an invitation and review the agenda, speakers and program details by clicking here.

(more…)

Global regulation 2011: a review of policies that shaped the business world

Jan. 10 (Business Law Currents) — Global regulators have been anything but idle in 2011. Predictably, the U.S. regulatory landscape was dominated by the 800-lb. statutory gorilla, the Dodd-Frank Act. Canada busied itself trying to accommodate Basel III’s coming capital requirements. Anti-bribery regulation managed to elbow its way into UK headlines in spite of a phone hacking scandal and a royal wedding. China cracked down on loopholes for variable interest entities, while Australia’s new tax regime found few friends in the mining sector down under. (more…)

Ten things UK/EU compliance officers must do in 2012

By Susannah Hammond

LONDON, Jan. 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – This year will be a year of clarifying, evaluating and beginning to implement the practical detail that underpins the sweep of regulatory change due in 2012 and beyond. The changes are not limited to the rulebooks but encompass the regulatory bodies, required structural changes (to banks in particular), the identification of systemic financial services firms and, last but not least, changes to the regulatory perimeter.

Last year saw compliance officers undertake fundamental regulatory reviews and maintenance, as well as ensure the map of their businesses and employees was accurate and that there were effective mechanisms in place to keep it up to date.

The strategic success for a firm faced with the changes due in 2012 will depend on the strength of the foundations on which it is built. As all experienced compliance officers know, one cannot implement change if one does not have an accurate map to build on. Here are 10 things that compliance officers must consider in 2012.

Global disclosure 2011 review: trends and new mandates in public filings

By John Mackie

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (Business Law Currents) – The global push for increased transparency by public issuers continued in 2011, with developments on a number of fronts. U.S disclosure trends included Dodd-Frank related mandates and event-driven disclosures. Canada continued to refine its disclosure regime, seeing voices weigh in from the Canadian Securities Administrators and the Supreme Court. Regulators in the UK, meanwhile, pressed issuers to emphasize clarity over quantity in their disclosures. Business Law Currents takes a closer look at the global disclosure picture in 2011, highlighting this year’s trends, developments, concerns and challenges.

Among the hot disclosure topics for 2011 were Chinese issuers, the natural disasters in Japan, and the regulation of credit rating agencies. On a regional basis, the Supreme Courts in both the U.S. and Canada provided their thoughts regarding materiality assessments in a disclosure context. (more…)

Killing dead flies with a sledgehammer: SEC proceedings against already defunct companies

By Morris Simkin, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – I was recently involved in a case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission to revoke the registration of a company’s common stock. But the company’s publicly held common stock had been revoked by a bankruptcy court order issued some seven years before the SEC proceeding began.

This piqued my curiosity. Why was the SEC bringing this proceeding, and how many other similar cases had they brought? How much was this costing the public — both in terms of SEC staff time and other enforcement opportunities lost because the staff was pursuing these companies? And were there better ways to get the same result? (more…)

Fed’s capital proposal not as tough as feared, may give U.S. banks advantage

By Rachel Wolcott

NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec. 22 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Considering the cost of the financial crisis to the American taxpayer — anywhere between $700 billion and $12.8 trillion depending on who you talk to — the proposed capital rules the Federal Reserve published yesterday seem pretty lenient, compare to those mooted by some European countries.

However, it is a certainty that the same U.S. bank CEOs who have been so vociferous in their criticism of any increase in capital requirements, will continue their efforts to pare down the amount of capital they are required to hold. (more…)

MF Global trustee reviewing firm’s practice of repledging collateral

By Emmanuel Olaoye and Christopher Elias

NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec. 21 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The bankruptcy trustee for collapsed U.S. brokerage firm MF Global Inc. is looking into how the firm re-pledged customer collateral as part of its search for $1.2 billion of missing customer funds.

The practice, called re-hypothecation, has drawn renewed scrutiny after the failure of MF Global and experts said U.S. regulators may face new restrictions as part of efforts to increase protection on customer accounts. (more…)

U.S. financial services can expect more Dodd-Frank in 2012, not less

By Rachel Wolcott

NEW YORK, Dec.16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – When congressman Barney Frank announced he would not seek another term, enemies were quick to predict the demise of the wide-ranging financial reform act that the Massachusetts Democrat penned with former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. These pronouncements are not just premature, but according to regulatory experts, probably wrong. Unless there is a real seismic political shift to the right after the 2012 elections, they say, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010 will survive, perhaps with a little tinkering, and firms had better be prepared to deal with it.

Dodd-Frank will only face a real threat if the Republicans take the White House and a majority in the U.S. Senate, while hanging on to the House of Representatives. Right now, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the latest to surge to the top of the Republican pack of presidential candidates, the likely outcome of November presidential elections is far from clear. If President Barack Obama, who signed Dodd Frank into law, stays in office, he can use his veto power to try to protect Dodd-Frank. (more…)

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