Financial Regulatory Forum

Largest U.S. banks see themselves in “regulatory spiral” with no clear end

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Although five years have passed since the height of the financial crisis, top lawyers at some of the largest U.S. banks see themselves pitted in an escalating, and at times adversarial, battle with regulators, the end of which remains unknown.

At a conference sponsored by the Clearing House on Friday, senior legal representatives from JPMorgan and Bank of America painted a picture of unprecedented enforcement actions and fines across a wide range of issues, adding that the zeal of recent actions could potentially disrupt the supervisory and cooperative relationship that has long existed between banks and regulators. (more…)

SEC aims to loosen rules on foreign broker-dealers in U.S., official says

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - U.S. securities regulators are looking to loosen rules for foreign-broker dealers acting in the U.S. on a cross-border basis. The change would come in the wake of new policy being adopted to implement derivatives cross-border rules under Dodd-Frank. The reform was outlined by John Ramsay, Acting Director, Division of Trading and Markets of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Rulemaking priorities at the SEC division include the Volcker rule on proprietary trading, derivatives and a proposal for firms and exchanges to test major systems. New data sources and analytics will impact new rules on equity market structure and infrastructure improvements, Ramsay said on Tuesday at the Securities Industry and Financial Market Authority’s (SIFMA) Legal and Compliance Society. (more…)

The future of the U.S. resolution regime: toward “a tale of two models”?

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Nov. 25 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) may be far from putting the final touches on titles I and II of the Dodd-Frank Act — the preparation of resolution plans within the framework of enhanced prudential standards, and the authority of FDIC to become the receiver of a failed non-bank financial or holding company and unwind it respectively. But comments by regulators and a conference in Washington last month held by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on the topic reveal that some consensus is emerging on the structure and implementation of the resolution regime as well as its future course. (more…)

Quasi-partnership model may help big banks mitigate risk

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, NOV. 21 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The largest institutions on Wall Street could go a long way towards reducing risky behavior if they changed the way top levels of management are incentivized and compensated, and incorporated elements of a partnership model, says a former Goldman Sachs banker.

Taking a page from Goldman’s bygone management structure, Steven Mandis, now a professor at Columbia University, argues that one needs to think creatively of how to replicate the incentives, and ultimately the behavior, that was at work in the partnership model. (more…)

Interview: After SAC, corporate monitor says what makes effective compliance programs

By Emmanuel Olaoye, Compliance Complete

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Last Monday’s announcement that the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors will pay $1.8 billion and hire a compliance monitor to settle insider trading charges highlighted the importance of outside compliance monitors in modern financial services enforcement.

SAC pled guilty on Friday to criminal fraud charges as part of a $1.8 billion deal with the Department of Justice to resolve a decade-long investigation into insider trading at the firm.  (more…)

Compliance staff can help their firms by reflecting regulators’ expectations, SEC enforcer says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Regulators and compliance and ethics officers share the goals of preventing unlawful or improper conduct and cultivating effective cultures that promote integrity and respect for the law, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said.

These goals can be better achieved through “a good compliance program” that extends throughout the business and protects it by reflecting the SEC’s expectations, Stephen L. Cohen, an SEC associate enforcement director, told members of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics last week. (more…)

Wall Street’s hot hire: anti-money laundering compliance officers

By Aruna Viswanatha and Brett Wolf, Thomson Reuters Reporting Team

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The kings of Wall Street used to be the traders and investment bankers who said yes to big deals and big trades, but today’s power brokers increasingly are the compliance officers who quite often say no to risky proposals.

As the U.S. government steps up enforcement of anti-money laundering laws, it has created a red-hot market for compliance officers, who oversee a bank’s systems that prevent it from violating regulatory requirements and monitor transactions for any suspicious activity. (more…)

Governance reforms gain momentum with SEC pay-ratio disclosure proposal

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Oct. 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that would make public companies disclose the pay gap between their top executive and the rest of the staff. But the divided 3-2 vote by which the proposal was advanced reflects the fierce debate between opponents to call it difficult and unnecessary, and advocates who say it provides a useful measurement for shareholders who want to rein in excessive compensation.

The proposed rule represents an attempt to alleviate the classical principal-agency problem, where the interest of the senior management may front-run that of the shareholders’ through overcompensation. It may also help regulators in furthering a growing effort to improve corporate risk-management practices. But the challenges of compiling useful figures may be daunting. (more…)

U.S. Treasury’s know-your-customer proposal delayed by struggle for regulatory consensus

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A months-long delay in the release of a know-your-customer rule proposal that would have an impact across the financial industry is the result of the U.S. Treasury Department’s inability to reach a consensus with regulators on key details of the measure, sources familiar with the matter say.
Rob Rowe, a lawyer with the American Bankers Association’s Center for Legal and Regulatory Compliance, said “a number of bankers have asked about the status of the proposal.” (more…)

JPMorgan’s massive spending on controls underlines “aggressive” relations with regulators

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - What was once a more consultative relationship between JPMorgan and its regulators has turned into an environment of aggressive demands to reshape the banking giant, say bankers.

With news the largest U.S. bank has settled one set of charges for $920 million and is bracing for more legal and regulatory scrutiny in the coming weeks and months, insiders say the most noticeable change has been the regulators’ use of “consent orders” to enforce wholesale changes across the institution’s risk management controls and systems. (more…)

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