Financial Regulatory Forum

SEC aims to loosen rules on foreign broker-dealers in U.S., official says

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - U.S. securities regulators are looking to loosen rules for foreign-broker dealers acting in the U.S. on a cross-border basis. The change would come in the wake of new policy being adopted to implement derivatives cross-border rules under Dodd-Frank. The reform was outlined by John Ramsay, Acting Director, Division of Trading and Markets of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Rulemaking priorities at the SEC division include the Volcker rule on proprietary trading, derivatives and a proposal for firms and exchanges to test major systems. New data sources and analytics will impact new rules on equity market structure and infrastructure improvements, Ramsay said on Tuesday at the Securities Industry and Financial Market Authority’s (SIFMA) Legal and Compliance Society. (more…)

Offshore U.S. oversight of derivatives may bolster defenses against JPMorgan-type losses

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, May 29 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – U.S. regulators are looking to use new their oversight authority over foreign derivatives trades to reduce the chances of new shocks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co’s trading loss of at least $2 billion.

Pointing out that JPMorgan’s money-losing trades on a credit default swap index were conducted in a London unit, similar to recent failures at AIG and Lehman Brothers, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said implementation of Dodd-Frank regulatory reform rules would improve supervision of such activity in the future by expanding cross-border oversight. (more…)

JPMorgan case puts Volcker Rule and SIFIs back in the spotlight

By Patricia Lee

NEW YORK, May 23 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The massive losses which resulted from JPMorgan Chase hedging its positions against derivatives has once again cast the spotlight on the Volcker Rule and whether systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) are too big to fail, industry observers said. Questions have also been raised about the firm’s hedging strategy, and what constitutes hedging in the first place.

Industry officials in Asia suggested that JPMorgan’s $2 billion hedging losses might embolden regulators to strengthen the Volcker Rule, on the premise that it would be of benefit to SIFIs. The rule, named after former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, forms part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and has proposed the separation of proprietary trading from commercial banking activity. Most notably, it has argued against investing in derivatives or using derivatives as a hedge on investments. The rule has, however, faced strong opposition from many of the large global financial institutions. (more…)

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act threatens investment in the U.S.

US dollar note and other currenciesBy Christopher Elias (The views expressed are the author’s own)

LONDON/NEW YORK, (Business Law Currents) – A fiscal tourniquet will put a squeeze on tax evasion – the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is threatening to clog the arteries of the world’s financial system with U.S. withholding taxes and burdensome obligations on non-U.S. firms.

Designed to staunch the bleeding of capital from the U.S. to secret bank accounts, FATCA is clamping down on overseas earnings but its unintended consequences are threatening to undermine investment in the U.S. (more…)

U.S. financial services can expect more Dodd-Frank in 2012, not less

By Rachel Wolcott

NEW YORK, Dec.16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – When congressman Barney Frank announced he would not seek another term, enemies were quick to predict the demise of the wide-ranging financial reform act that the Massachusetts Democrat penned with former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. These pronouncements are not just premature, but according to regulatory experts, probably wrong. Unless there is a real seismic political shift to the right after the 2012 elections, they say, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010 will survive, perhaps with a little tinkering, and firms had better be prepared to deal with it.

Dodd-Frank will only face a real threat if the Republicans take the White House and a majority in the U.S. Senate, while hanging on to the House of Representatives. Right now, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the latest to surge to the top of the Republican pack of presidential candidates, the likely outcome of November presidential elections is far from clear. If President Barack Obama, who signed Dodd Frank into law, stays in office, he can use his veto power to try to protect Dodd-Frank. (more…)

Cost-benefit lawsuits snarl Dodd-Frank implementation

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A financial industry lawsuit seeking to block new U.S. rules on commodity position limits on the grounds that they lack an adequate cost-benefit analysis could cause regulators to slow their implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul and be an indicator of more such challenges. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is saying it will resist efforts to block the law.  (more…)

FACTBOX-CFTC to-do list for implementing reforms

Nov 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission faces the mammoth task of writing detailed regulations to implement reforms passed by Congress giving the agency oversight of the $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.

Working from a list of 30 topic areas, the agency may end up writing 50 to 60 regulations, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler has said.

The CFTC hopes to unveil the first drafts of most of the proposed rules by the end of the year to allow time for public comment and revisions before its July deadline for final regulations. Some rules have earlier deadlines.

from Tales from the Trail:

Think brussels sprouts and cauliflower are agricultural commodities? Think again.

While the financial bailouts tossed to automakers, banks and other groups during the recent economic crisis left a funny taste in the mouth of some Americans, one former U.S. regulator hopes efforts to prevent another panic doesn't go rotten.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is immersed in drafting dozens of rules to assist it in increasing oversight of the once opaque over-the-counter derivatives market, widely blamed for exacerbating the recent financial crisis. USA/

Among the rules it must craft is what the definition of an agricultural commodity is? Of course, corn, cotton, soybeans and livestock, among other items, fall into this realm.

Swapping the rules: derivatives concern SEC, CFTC and the market (Westlaw Business)

Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, gestures as he testifies before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing on the Role of Derivatives in the Financial Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington July 1, 2010. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

(Westlaw Business) - Swap markets and players were a main focus of Dodd-Frank, yet the SEC and CFTC were left to work out the details. The market, from Ropes & Gray to the Reinsurance Association of America, has provided these regulators with public comment and disclosure commentary. Now that the public comment period has drawn to a close, one thing is clear: issues from “security-based swap” to “swap participant” are certain to have big impact on a broad array of companies, both in financial services and beyond.

Enacted on July 21, 2010, Dodd-Frank incorporated a 360-day-window for the Act’s wrinkles to be smoothed out before implementation. One of the first casualties has been the CFTC’s rejection of discretionary Grandfather relief the Act allows the Commission to provide. Some 300 days remain in which all Dodd-Frank’s administrative detail work must be concluded. According to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, 30 teams have been dedicated to address the key policy and drafting issues of the new law. The working definitions of affecting the entire derivatives industry now rest in the hands of the SEC and CFTC.

Title VII of the Act, subtitled Wall Street Transparency and Accountability, defines terms as part of a complex scheme to regulate swap markets and security-based swap markets. The law looks to curtail the kinds of highly leveraged derivatives trades that have the potential to wreck the U.S. economy (again). Even more acutely, the act seeks to prevent Federally regulated institutions from (more) taxpayer bailouts. Market experts, however, have expressed concern that without narrow tailoring, these changes could not only increase compliance costs and margin requirements, but erect barriers to entry and foreclose the use of important risk management tools.

ANALYSIS-Even with new rules, life goes on for Wall Street

By Steve Eder

NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers have hammered out a law that is designed to fundamentally change Wall Street, but financial professionals largely yawned.

Legislators took steps that at first blush could change the industry, including limiting banks’ swaps-dealing operations and their investments in private equity and hedge funds.

But in the end, banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley won concessions that watered down the proposals that could have been most damaging to their profits, staving off a watershed overhaul like the one that took place after the Great Depression.

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