Financial Regulatory Forum

ANALYSIS – US mortgage investors see headway on second-lien write downs

By Al Yoon

NEW YORK, April 12 (Reuters) – On March 17, 2009, a group of mortgage bond investors worried about the losses they could suffer as a result of U.S. foreclosure prevention plans asked top bankers to share the pain by taking some write-downs on $450 billion in home equity loans.

But the bankers said they would talk only after the investors first allowed modifications on their primary loans as prescribed under the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, according to a trader who attended the meeting at the American Securitization Forum in New York.

Thus began a year of frustration for the investors, such as asset manager BlackRock Inc, who claim their rights as primary mortgage holders have been trampled by the foreclosure program that let second-lien holders off the hook. Most agreed that the program, known as HAMP, was good policy, but balked at who sustained losses and when.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Scott Simon, a managing director at Pacific Investment Management Co., in Newport Beach, California. “You’d think if you are first lien holder you’d be in first lien position.”

More than a year later, investors whose losses would be lessened if banks took write-downs on second-lien mortgages are getting some attention, after being stonewalled by banks and regulators, according to the trader who attended the meeting with bankers. The change comes as they are being asked to help restore private credit to the U.S. housing finance system, which is costing taxpayers a bundle.

Global accounting rule-setter proposes quicker booking of bad loans

By Huw Jones
LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – A global accounting standard setter published on Thursday a second leg of proposals to replace its fair value rule that was criticised by policymakers for amplifying the credit crunch.


ANALYSIS-Accounting irregularities may be on the rise in U.S.

By Emily Chasan
NEW YORK, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Corporate balance sheets may be showing signs of the wear and tear from the prolonged U.S. recession as accounting irregularities are starting to surface at growing numbers at U.S. companies.”When things get difficult companies tend to stretch even further and utilize whatever games that they can get away with and sometimes they don’t get away with them,” David Tice, chief portfolio strategist for bear markets at Federated Investors, said in an interview with Reuters television on Wednesday.


EXCLUSIVE-U.S., global differences over fair-value accounting can be reconciled – IASB chief

tweedie_thb By Emily Chasan
NEW YORK, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Proposed changes to mark-to-market accounting rules are likely to look similar on both sides of the Atlantic in the end, despite a current controversy about how far to expand the rules, the top global accounting rulemaker said.


FACTBOX – Business cases before US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, September 29, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young   (UNITED STATES POLITICS CRIME LAW)The U.S. Supreme Court opened its term on Monday, with new Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Following are some of the important cases business cases that will be decided:

* Whether the long-standing limits on corporate spending in U.S. political campaigns violated the free-speech rights of businesses.

U.S. accounting board eyes more disclosure on illiquid assets

Financial Accounting Standards Board Chairman Robert Herz makes remarks at the Reuters Regulation Summit, in Washington, February 7, 2008.     REUTERS/Mike Theiler (UNITED STATES) WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (Reuters) – U.S. accounting rulemakers have proposed requiring new disclosures on how companies value illiquid assets, a move designed to make it easier for investors to assess businesses’ financial health.

G20 states unlikely to come clean on government accounting

By Huw Jones
LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Governments are responding to the credit crisis by trying to make corporate accounting more transparent. But they look set to resist pressure to come clean on their own finances.