Financial Regulatory Forum

Focus on bad bankers, not just their banks, New York’s Lawsky says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 13, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Banks don’t do bad things – people do – so the people behind the alleged violations should face more regulatory scrutiny and personal accountability, said Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Focusing on individuals could better deter misconduct , and could also stop sending signals that the bank where the individuals worked – and the banking industry overall – are bad, Lawsky told reporters at a Reuters financial services regulatory summit in Manhattan. (more…)

INSIGHT: SEC cyber-risk exam guidelines set template for firms

By Abel Picardi, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 6, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission tightens its supervision of technology security on Wall Street, with plans to examine cybersecurity preparedness at more than 50 broker-dealers and investment advisers, the agency has released a checklist intended to help firms review their controls whether or not they come into the crosshairs of examiners.

The move is in keeping with a cybersecurity push by SEC Chair Mary Jo White, as well as principles outlined in February by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (more…)

Better career paths, new reporting lines as compliance gains status at banks – global report

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Mar. 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The increasingly important role compliance risk management plays in the banking sector is demonstrated in areas ranging from reorganized risk departments to clearer reporting lines and more rewarding career paths, according to a report by the financial consultancy Accenture.

“The roles of the risk, and especially of the compliance, departments have increasingly been gaining stature within banks in the last five years or so,” said Steve Culp, senior managing director of finance and risk services at Accenture. “Banks are more frequently increasingly adopting organizational structures that connect and align the compliance officers more closely with their decision-making bodies, such as with senior management or the board.”  (more…)

IA brief: Accuracy on assets reporting is crucial for upcoming amendment filing

By Jason Wallace, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Mar. 11 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The end of March is a crucial milestone of the annual compliance program for most registered investment advisers and exempt reporting advisers (ERA’s).

Every registered adviser and ERA must update their Forms ADV Part 1 and 2A within 90 days of its fiscal-year end, and that is March 31, 2014 for advisers whose fiscal year ended December 31. (more…)

U.S. SEC releases 2014 exam priorities; exchanges, retirement in focus

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday published the 2014 priorities for its national examination program (NEP). Prominent among the priorities were scrutiny of “perceived control weakness” at financial exchanges and oversight of retirement investments.

The NEP’s examination priorities address issues that span the entire market, such as fraud, retirement rollovers and older investors, corporate governance, enterprise risk-management and technology. In addition, each of the NEP’s four program areas: investment advisers and investment companies, broker-dealers, exchanges and self-regulatory
organizations, and clearing and transfer agents, have individual focus areas. (more…)

FINRA exam priorities for 2014 incorporate enterprise wide, risk-based approach

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Jan.7 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Broker dealers have been put on notice of regulatory priority areas where they will be examined in 2014. The topics seen as posing greatest risk to investors and markets were issued in a letter by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on the first day of the year. They include new areas such as seeing patterns of suspicious activity by representatives, including questioning firms why they hired the persons.

“We encourage firms to use this guidance along with their own analysis to enhance their programs as we will be examining for strong controls and robust compliance efforts in these areas” stated Susan Axelrod, FINRA Executive Vice President, Regulatory Operations, on release of the letter to member firms. (more…)

U.S. Volcker Rule places major new demands on compliance

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 17 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The Volcker Rule final version adopted on Tuesday by U.S. regulators imposes significant compliance demands on banks, with stricter prohibitions on proprietary trading than the initial proposal two years ago, narrower exemptions for market making and hedging and a requirement that chief executives are now required to annually certify to regulators that such a compliance plan is in place.
“As a foundation, the final Volcker Rule requires banking entities to have a robust compliance program, including defined limits on market making, underwriting and hedging activities as well as continuous monitoring and management of such activities. It also requires reporting to regulators on specific metrics and trading details,” U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said as the rule was adopted. (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…)

U.S. Justice Department chooses former prosecutor to be HSBC compliance monitor

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, June 6 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said it has chosen a former New York County prosecutor who is known for his innovative pursuit of criminals to police HSBC’s efforts to clean up its anti-money laundering program.

The Department’s decision to announce its choice at a time when a federal judge’s hesitation to sign-off on its settlement with HSBC has raised questions over the settlement’s prospects suggests the move is an attempt to win the judge’s approval, compliance experts said. (more…)

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