Financial Regulatory Forum

IA brief: Account takeovers are big cybersecurity risk for advisers

By Jason Wallace, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, April 24, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A recent cybersecurity roundtable hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission should act as a call to action for investment advisers, as the threat of cyber attacks is high for all companies and increasing daily, say event panelists.

Investment advisers, whether small or midsize, are not immune from these attacks and now is a good time to recognize the firm’s risks, review available guidance, hone formal policies and procedures, and preparing for an imminent SEC exam module concerning cybersecurity. (more…)

Special report: UK regulators face mounting concerns over their handling of multi-million pound fund collapse

By Alex Davidson, Compliance Complete

LONDON, Apr. 4, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Regulators face searching questions about whether they acted effectively in the multi-million pound collapse in 2012 of an unregulated collective investment scheme (UCIS). The then Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) decisions concerning the Connaught Income Fund, Series 1, a UK-domiciled fund based in London, will come under fresh scrutiny at a debate in Westminster Hall, between members of parliament and HM Treasury this month, subject to scheduling. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that the FSA, its predecessor body, acquitted itself well in dealing with the situation. Detractors, including investors, MPs and independent financial advisers (IFAs), have said the regulator failed to act appropriately on warnings about the misappropriation of multiple millions of pounds from the fund.
Some have found fault with the regulator, fund operators and IFAs who sold the Connaught fund, but it remains to be seen who, if anyone, will be held broadly accountable. Critics of the regulator have said it failed to investigate effectively evidence of financial misappropriation and insolvency, at Tiuta Plc (Tiuta), a regulated mortgage lender, to which the fund was lending money. The evidence was provided by whistleblower George Patellis, chief executive of Tiuta, which, like its unregulated subsidiary,Tiuta International (TIL), was a specialist partner to the Connaught fund. (more…)

INTERVIEW: Board members are accountable for compliance, SEC’s di Florio says

By Emmanuel Olaoye

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Directors who fail to take an interest in compliance risk the threat of enforcement action from the Securities and Exchange Commission, a top official from the agency said.

In an interview with Thomson Reuters, Carlo di Florio, director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, said the agency was focused on developing an examination regime that looked at a company’s culture of compliance at every level of management. Board members who are not engaged in the compliance process risk the chance of their firm being referred to the SEC’s enforcement division for fraud or compliance failures. (more…)

Standard Chartered’s big shareholders stay quiet on compliance, say focus is on governance

By Martin Coyle

LONDON/HONG KONG, Aug. 31 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Standard Chartered Bank’s major shareholders are declining to openly criticise the firm’s compliance practices but some cited overall governance issues as their primary interest following its settlement over allegations it breached Iran-sanctions laws. One institutional investor said that it had discussed compliance issues with the bank before this month’s $340 million settlement was reached with New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) for breaches of sanctions with Iran. The UK fund manager, which declined to be named, said that it discussed the allegations in general as well as compliance issues.  (more…)

Collateral management reform could herald benefits for risk managers

By Rachel Wolcott

LONDON/NEW YORK, July 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Risk managers could benefit from the financial services industry’s revamp of collateral management services in preparation for the new regulatory requirements that will drive demand for high-quality collateral. New regulations for the clearing of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives through central counterparties (CCPs) alone could increase demand for high-quality collateral to $2 trillion or more, according to some estimates. In response, some firms are aiming for a more universal approach to collateral management.

Many firms still take a rather old-fashioned view of collateral management. It is often fragmented and inefficient. Most firms operate collateral management in silos determined by geography or asset class. This can lead to poor communication between different collateral management functions — for example, repo staff might not speak to the securities lending unit, or the New York office might not speak to its UK counterpart as much or as often as it should.  (more…)

Futures customer protections improved in U.S. and overseas after frauds

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, July 17 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The CFTC approved tough customer protection rules for futures firms’ days after the Peregrine default led to over $200 million in missing client funds. Losses arising from a fraud by the owner of the futures broker come soon after a $1.6 billion hole in client funds from the collapse of MF Global. The new rules require daily calculations of client money to be reported, and for senior management to certify cash movements.

The CFTC charged Peregrine Financial Group, and its owner Russell Wasendorf, Sr, of misappropriating customer funds. A recent audit of Peregrine by the National Futures Association (NFA), the self-regulator for independent futures firms, found the firm falsely represented it held $220 million customer funds at a bank account, which only had $5.1million. The firm filed for liquidation Friday, and its owner was arrested. (more…)

U.S. credit market remains uneasy in the world of representations and warranties

US dollar note and other currenciesBy Alex Lee

NEW YORK, Oct. 12 (Business Law Currents) - The first half of 2011 saw rebounding credit markets and an uptick in debt issuance. Due to uncertain economic conditions in the second half of 2011, however, even the most fundamental aspects of loan documentation are facing increasing scrutiny. Representations & warranties that were more routine and non-contentious transformed into significantly stricter provisions as a result of the credit crisis.

Gun shy lenders began placing more onerous terms in credit facilities and the reps and warranties were dramatically bulked up. Some borrowers are now required to announce their credit worthiness under no uncertain terms. Recent litigation concentrating on reps and warranties has heightened the already palpable sense of market unease. Lenders are escalating the investigative function of the reps & warranties to more fully flesh out the factual matrix in reliance of which they will decide to provide a credit facility. (more…)

Impact analysis: UK outline of new approach to financial regulation

By Susannah Hammond

LONDON, Feb. 24 (Complinet) -The British Treasury’s latest proposal for reshaping financial regulation, published last week, has given more detail to the plans set out in an outline last summer. The fundamental shape of the new bodies now looks to have been finalized, but many fine points on how the new approach will actually function in practical, operational and cultural terms are still under consideration.

Following is a discussion of the major elements of the consultation, “A new approach to financial regulation: building a stronger system,” and how they may affect the UK financial industry:

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