Financial Regulatory Forum

“Super managers,” governance spotlighted in economist Piketty’s blockbuster capitalism critique

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK – May 8, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - How much of a role have corporate boards played in rising income inequality in the United States, the UK and elsewhere?

If one reads between the lines of French economist Thomas Piketty’s best-selling blockbuster book on capitalism and inequality – “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – the answer might be: quite a bit.

The core of Piketty’s thesis and empirical evidence focuses on the long-term relationship between returns on capital and economic growth. Specifically, over long periods of time, when the return on capital exceeds the rate of economic growth, inequality tends to ensue. On the other hand, when growth exceeds capital’s return, income equality tends to improve as wealth is driven more by wage growth. Since 1970, according to Piketty, we have been living in world dominated by the former, with rising returns to holders of capital the primary force behind widening income gaps in the United States and certain European economies. In economic terms “r” – the return on capital – has been greater than “g” – the rate of growth – for some time. (more…)

Volcker rule enforcement: Regulators attempt a united front

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb. 19 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The question of which regulator will take the lead in enforcing the complex Volcker rule took center stage this week, as U.S. lawmakers voiced concern over the lack of clear leadership among the five agencies in charge of the statute.

In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, the heads of the five agencies — the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Securities Exchange Commission, FDIC, and Commodities Futures Trading Commission – found themselves questioned repeatedly over which agency was at the helm. (more…)

IA brief: SEC examiners give first look at hedge fund exam findings

By Jason Wallace, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Last week, representatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission gave the first of many reports concerning its “presence exam” initiative for conducting initial regulatory exams of private advisers, and reported a lower rate of deficiencies compared with regular exams. The panel highlighted exam findings and staff observations concerning investment conflicts, marketing, valuation and custody.

The Dodd-Frank Act required approximately 1,500 private advisers to register with the SEC in 2012 – resulting in a current population of approximately 4,000 registered private advisers. (more…)

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