Financial Regulatory Forum

Bankers say “derisking” underway amid sanctions crackdown; that’s the point, U.S. regulator says

A process of “derisking” is underway by financial firms exiting sectors that represent compliance landmines, bankers said on Tuesday, but a top U.S. sanctions enforcer said that is sometimes just the right move.

“It is not at all uncommon for me to hear that a compliance overhaul was done and certain customers, certain lines of activity were deemed too risky to persist. That may be exactly the right response to a situation where the risk outweighs the benefit,” said Adam Szubin, director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the lead agency for the enforcement of U.S. financial sanctions. (more…)

Canada’s financial system vulnerable to overheated housing market, central bank says

By Daniel Seleanu, Compliance Complete

TORONTO, July 1, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Canada’s overheated housing market represents a significant risk to the stability of its financial system, the country’s central bank has warned.

In its recently released Financial System Review (FSR) (PDF), the Bank of Canada (BOC) warned that while the system was stable overall, it remained vulnerable to several risks that could trigger a disorderly market correction. The economic and financial consequences of such a correction would be severe, the BOC predicted.  (more…)

Insight: U.S. OCC’s “heightened expectations” standards for bank governance, and how to meet them

By Abel Picardi, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Mar. 21 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Proposed risk standards for banks regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will expose top executives and directors of federally chartered insured institutions to greater accountability for any legal, risk or compliance shortcomings.
The OCC proposed the standards in January as way to broaden and enforce the application of its “heightened expectations” for bank stability. The expectations were issued in 2010, in response to the financial crisis. The proposed guidelines’ focus on top bank governance directly aims to limit ”accountability risk,” or the risk that a leadership not held to the consequences of its decisions can endanger an institution. (more…)

Small banks await regulatory fix on Trust Preferred Securities portion of the Volcker rule for capital decisions

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Jan. 24 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Banks that have relied over the years on a special type of assets to fulfill their capital requirements may soon have to restructure their investment portfolios to bring it in line with the Volcker rule limiting risky trading by banks. At stake is the treatment of the Trust Preferred Securities (TRuPS), whose inclusion as “investments in entities referred to as covered funds” such as collateralized loan obligations and collateralized debt obligations, would oblige banks to divest them in compliance with the Volcker rule.

The intent behind the complex Volcker rule is clear. It is aimed at limiting the exposure of banks to certain type of “covered funds” such as hedge funds or private equity funds to 3 percent, and to prevent them from engaging in proprietary trading, namely, trading with their customers’ funds for their own short term gains rather than trade on their clients’ behalf. It is, therefore, a rule to make banks’ investments less risky and more transparent. (more…)

FDIC adds more flesh to “single point of entry” resolution plans, but questions remain

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, under mounting pressure from the industry for greater clarity, announced on Tuesday additional details on its “Single Point of Entry” resolution plans for failed banks.
The basic concept is to close the holding company of a failed firm, and transfer its healthy subsidiaries into a new bridge institution that could be managed while the resolution of the defunct company proceeds. Shareholders would be wiped out under the plan, while unsecured creditors could seek equity claims as a means to recapitalize the new institution. Should the subsidiaries require liquidity to operate, they would borrow from the bridge, which in turn may borrow from an “orderly liquidation fund” funded by the U.S. Treasury. (more…)

Federal Reserve issues technical fix to market-risk capital rule to conform with Basel III

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Federal Reserve Board issued a final rule that makes technical changes to the Board’s market-risk capital rule to align it with the Basel III revised capital framework adopted by the Board earlier this year. (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…)

U.S. ratings downgrade could make it harder for banks to raise capital, experts say

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, July 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Any downgrade in the U.S. government’s credit rating stemming from a failure to raise the debt limit would make it harder for American banks to raise capital at a time that they are facing higher capital requirements, banking experts and industry representatives warned. (more…)

A letter to JPMorgan: Dimon is wrong -COLUMN

By Anat Admati, guest columnist. The views expressed are her own

PALO ALTO, California, June 15 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) -

Dear JPMorgan Chase Directors

I own some JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares through mutual funds in my retirement account. I have read Mr. Dimon’s recent letter to shareholders and some of his public comments. I write to urge you to reconsider JPM’s actions related to capital regulation. For the overall economy, as well as for JPM, these actions are misguided. (more…)

ANALYSIS-Europe’s banks loath to jettison cash ballast for returns

By Steve Slater

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Some of Europe’s banks are faced with the unusual problem of holding too much cash as they try to lift sluggish returns, and few will dare to eat into capital until well into 2011 amid an uncertain regulatory outlook.

A jump in profits may have prompted banks like HSBC and Barclays to talk about improving returns for investors, but the financial crisis is too fresh in the memory for regulators and bank bosses.

(more…)

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