Financial Regulatory Forum

Regulatory round-up — U.S. rules to know in 2012

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, Dec. 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Several recently adopted rules in the U.S. are going into effect for specific types of firms in 2012. These rules include ones released by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Federal Reserve, issued to implement the Dodd-Frank Act and as a response to market developments.

The SEC-adopted rules requiring reporting by advisers to hedge funds and by large traders of securities are explained below. We also cover the CFTC final rules on derivative clearing firms in the swaps market and provide a summary of the Fed’s final rules on living wills for large banks, and non-bank systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), under the Dodd-Frank Act. (more…)

FATCA tax law has bigger impact on foreign than U.S. firms

US dollar note and other currenciesBy Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The soon-to-be-implemented U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, will have a bigger impact on foreign financial institutions than on U.S. ones, financial industry participants were told at a panel discussion on the law, which is placing new duties on compliance officers.

The event was hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and conducted by the group’s Operations & Technology Society’s–Securities Operations Section, reflecting the role that staff in the operations units of firms were expected to have in meeting FATCA provisions.  (more…)

Cost-benefit lawsuits snarl Dodd-Frank implementation

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A financial industry lawsuit seeking to block new U.S. rules on commodity position limits on the grounds that they lack an adequate cost-benefit analysis could cause regulators to slow their implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul and be an indicator of more such challenges. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is saying it will resist efforts to block the law.  (more…)

U.S. ‘microcap’ charges highlight debate over small-firm capital raising

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Federal charges filed last week in a suspected kickback scheme to sell thinly traded stocks highlight concerns over investor safety as Congress making it easier for small business to raise capital. Boston federal prosecutors filed fraud and conspiracy charges last Thursday against 13 people: corporate officers, a lawyer and stock promoter. They were accused of a kickback scheme in which payments hidden by phony consulting contracts were made to an undercover FBI agent, who posed as a hedge-fund representative, in exchange for having the fund buy stock in certain small companies. (more…)

On the other hand: When Woodstock meets Wall Street

By Scott McCleskey

Nov. 29 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - If you didn’t know any different, you’d think the Occupy Wall Street movement was the kind of military operation so often criticized by people of a certain political temperament. It started off with a clear mission (financial reform), then suffered from mission creep (economic justice) and it never had an exit strategy. I think there was a surge in there somewhere as well but it’s hard to tell when they all live in tents.

The shame is that they had a point, in the beginning. Reforming the financial system is a gravely serious priority that is losing momentum. But by opening its arms to all who feel oppressed, repressed or suppressed, the inevitable result of the Occupy movement was that the original issue was lost in the noise. And as the movement begins to wind down it is likely to miss its greatest opportunity – to become the Tea Party of the Left.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Tea Party has been successful in grabbing the microphone and framing much of the conservative agenda. It may represent only a minority of Republican voters, but it will undoubtedly influence the outcome of the party’s nomination process and its 2012 platform. It does so by focusing on a few core issues, and has accomplished all this without an organized structure or dominant leader.

Taking on trading desk risk: the lessons of UBS and MF Global

Traders work at their desks in front of the DAX indexBy Rachel Wolcott

LONDON/NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – When the young UBS trader Kweku Adoboli turned himself in after allegedly having lost $2.3 billion on the Swiss bank’s delta one desk, many asked how such a huge loss could have happened without anyone knowing. The short answer was, in part, that Adoboli’s back-office experience gave him inside knowledge which permitted him to game UBS’ control systems and hide the fraud. The same excuse was trotted out to explain Jérôme Kerviel’s $6.8 billion loss at Société Générale in 2008, but it must surely take more than a stint in the bank office to fool banks’ risk controls systems.

Giorgio Questa, visiting professor in the faculty of finance at Cass Business School in London, said: “Banks have not understood that they will have accidents if they don’t come to terms with risk controls. It’s a question of incompetence. It’s completely clear [in the UBS case] that people weren’t doing their jobs.” (more…)

Off Balance Sheet Repo Risks Come Back to Bite

By Christopher Elias

NEW YORK, Nov.16 (Business Law Currents) - Off balance sheet items and undisclosed liabilities are coming back to bite companies, as repo-to-maturity disclosures prove to be a jarring reminder of pre-crisis risk proclivity.

Symptomatic of a wider problem gripping U.S. banks, MF Global’s bankruptcy has drawn attention to the danger of financial services firms hiding their true liabilities, no matter how safe they think they are.

The revelation that MF Global’s off balance sheet leveraged repo-to-maturity play was stuffed full of toxic Eurozone debt proved to be its downfall. The prospect of a Eurozone default spooked markets and MF Global’s liquidity drained away. A review of U.S. banks’ SEC disclosures reveals, however, some troubling implications of the gaps in U.S. GAAP filings as the true nature of hidden debt exposure becomes apparent.  (more…)

MF Global case raises questions for director oversight of CEOs

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The collapse of MF Global and charges that millions of dollars are unaccounted for highlights the challenges that powerful corporate executives pose to a firm’s governance controls, experts said.

Jon Corzine, MF Global’s chief executive officer resigned on Friday, four days after the futures brokerage firms filed for bankruptcy. Before his time with the firm, Corzine ran the investment bank Goldman Sachs in the 90s before he went on to be a senator for the state of New Jersey. He then served as New Jersey’s governor for four years before joining MF Global in March 2010. (more…)

Corporate identity theft: a new realm in risk management

By Liz Osborne, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

Nov. 7 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – These days most people are aware of the dangers of someone stealing and misusing their identity to perpetrate fraud — but less people are familiar with the equivalent crime at a corporate level. Corporate identity theft (CIT) is the fraudulent and deliberate misrepresentation of a company’s identity. It is sometimes also referred to as a “white-collar crime” as it is generally conducted in a “cyber environment” and is not the domain of the stereotypical burglar.

Over the years we have seen a marked increase in this area due to the relative simplicity of the crime and the large degree of “trust” people have in doing business online. It is anticipated that in Australia alone consumers will transact more than A$10 billion dollars in 2012. (more…)

Fast-moving MF Global case offers early lessons for compliance

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Charges that hundreds of millions of dollars are missing from the accounts of MF Global’s clients raise the question of whether powerful executives at the firm influenced the independence of internal auditors as the futures brokerage scrambled for survival.

MF Global, which collapsed over risky trades on European debt, faces a shortfall of $633 million in customer funds, the CME Group Inc. has estimated. (more…)

  •