Financial Regulatory Forum

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…)

Banking on Volcker: Big Crisis, Big Rule

By Thomson Reuters Accelus staff

NEW YORK, Oct. 19 (Business Law Currents) – Banking lawyers should be forgiven if they’re not returning calls right away: they’re busy trying to digest the Volcker Rule (or “the rule”). The proposed rule’s 298-page doorstop represents the collective efforts of the Treasury Department, Fed, FDIC and SEC to implement §619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which itself added a new §13 to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (the BHC Act). The intent of the Volcker Rule is to “generally prohibit any banking entity from engaging in proprietary trading or from acquiring or retaining an ownership interest in, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund (“covered fund”), subject to certain exemptions.”

So does the Volcker Rule satisfy its mandate? To paraphrase ‘The Simpsons’: yes with an “if,” no with an “unless.” The rule carves out significant exemptions from the proscription against proprietary trading, but each of these exceptions has a number of criteria required to take advantage of the exemption. Moreover, a number of the rule’s measures provide for rebuttable presumptions of non-compliance for certain types of trading activity. (more…)

from Global News Journal:

Brussels’ MEPs ready to duke it out with bankers

Every new year brings resolutions, and the European Parliament is no exception.

Often derided as a multi-lingual talking shop, the institution is feeling newly invigorated by some fresh faces and by the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty, which came into force late last year and gives the 736-member parliament more say in drafting laws and acting as a check on legislation.

Almost immediately, parliamentarians were letting their voice be heard, forcing Bulgaria to withdraw its nominee for the European Commission last month because she wasn't seen to be up to the job. They also look ready to block an agreement between the EU and the United States on sharing data on bank transfers, and are really beginning to show their teeth when it comes to financial sector reform.

It's one aspect of the latter move -- reported exclusively by Reuters on Monday -- which is set to cast MEPs in the role of banker-bashers-in-chief and could put them on a collision course with national governments.

UK government rejects brokerage complaints over “bullying” by rescued banks

A video grab image shows Britain's City minister Paul Myners speaking at a Treasury Committee in London March 17, 2009.     REUTERS/Parbul TV Via Reuters TV  (BRITAIN BUSINESS POLITICS) LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Britain’s government has batted away complaints from three top brokerages about “bullying” and unfair competition by bailed-out lenders, telling them to make a virtue of their independence or seek help from the consumer watchdog.

(more…)

Britain’s top retail banks set for shake-up

  LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Britain is set to announce on Tuesday a long-awaited deal with its bailed-out banks, including a record rights issue for Lloyds Banking Group and hefty disposals for Royal Bank of Scotland to appease the EU competition regulator and boost competition.

(more…)

Swiss hunt Italian agents as tax row deepens

ROME, Oct 29 (Reuters) – A row between Italy and Switzerland over tax evasion deepened on Thursday with one Swiss region launching a hunt for Italian agents trespassing on its soil as Rome warned against retaliation for its raids on Swiss banks.

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Japan bank minister says repayment halt good for banks

Japan's newly appointed Financial Services and Postal Services Minister Shizuka Kamei speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo September 16, 2009.   REUTERS/Issei Kato By David Dolan and Noriyuki Hirata
TOKYO, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Japan’s new banking minister said his plan to freeze the repayment of bank loans to help debt-burdened individuals and small companies would be a positive for the banks, even as investors have fled financial stocks.

(more…)

U.S. tax evaders rush to beat amnesty deadline

By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Rich Americans who have evaded taxes by hiding foreign holdings have about a week to turn themselves in to an Internal Revenue Service amnesty program or gamble they will not be caught.
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Dodd banking panel choice in U.S. seen as negative for banks

By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – A decision by U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd to stay chairman of the Senate Banking Committee would increase chances for consumer-oriented reforms that would restrict banks, according to a research report on Wednesday, with a Dodd announcement expected soon.

(more…)

Goldman boss says anger over pay justified, warns of rules overkill

Combination photograph of Wall Street bank executives testifying before House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 11, 2009.  Top row (L-R), are: Bank of New York's Robert Kelly, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Wells Fargo's John Stumpf. Bottom row (L-R), are: CitiGroup's Vikram Pandit, Morgan Stanley's John Mack, Bank of America's Ken Lewis and State Street's Ronald Logue.  By Edward Taylor

FRANKFURT, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The head of U.S. bank Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday that anger over bankers’ pay was “understandable and appropriate”, and that greater scrutiny of trade in complex instruments was needed to keep banks in check.   But with the banking sector bouncing back from the financial crisis, regulatory overkill could choke off economic growth, Lloyd Blankfein told an industry conference in Germany’s financial hub.

(more…)

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