Financial Regulatory Forum

Standard Chartered case may not set model for targeting other banks

By Aruna Viswanatha and Brett Wolf

WASHINGTON/ST. LOUIS, Sept. 5 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Benjamin Lawsky’s surprise move against Standard Chartered in an Iran sanctions case may have stunned the banking world, but it is unlikely to expand the scope of a series of similar U.S. cases against European banks that are still in the pipeline.
Lawsky, the New York state bank regulator, stunned the British bank, its shareholders and other U.S. authorities when he moved ahead last month with his own case against Standard Chartered, accused of hiding transactions involving Iran, which is under U.S. trade and economic sanctions. (more…)

Compliance lessons: U.S. Senate report on HSBC AML failings

By Susannah Hammond

LONDON/NEW YORK, July 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The United States Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations has published a report into U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing using HSBC Group plc as a case history. The report does not detail enforcement action taken, though there are several likely fines being considered by a number of U.S. authorities regarding HSBC’s anti-money laundering (AML) failings; it is however a valuable insight into the operations and associated compliance, risk and AML issues arising in a global financial services firm.  (more…)

U.S. bank regulator promises better enforcement following scathing congressional report into HSBC AML failures

By Brett Wolf

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - After widespread anti-money laundering (AML) failures at HSBC that continued for years due to lax regulatory oversight, a U.S. bank regulator has vowed to take a broader view of institutions’ compliance programs during examinations.

“The agency was much too slow in responding and addressing what are significant weaknesses or violations at this institution. Going forward, I would hope that we would be much more nimble and take into account the entire picture,” Thomas Curry, who took over as Comptroller of the Currency less than four months ago, said on Tuesday during a hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. (more…)

Ontario Securities Commission to review exempt market regime after calls for expansion

By Daniel Seleanu in Toronto

ONTARIO, June 28 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Ontario Securities Commission has launched a review of its prospectus-exempt distribution framework, following industry calls to open the exempt market to more investors. The review will look for inspiration to this year’s U.S. JOBS Act legislation on small-business capital raising, the commission said. (more…)

FINRA’s new suitability rule looms, with expanded customer-information requirements

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, June 27 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - FINRA’s new suitability rule expanding customer information requirements and applying them to more transactions the is set to go into effect July 9, after delays requested by firms to get more time to adapt.

The rules will require a broker dealer or their associated persons to have a “reasonable basis” to believe a recommended transaction is suitable for the customer, based on information obtained through “reasonable diligence” to understand a customer’s investment profile.” (more…)

FINRA’s know-your-customer and suitability rules require brokerage changes, new strategies

By Morris Simkin, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

NEW YORK, June 25 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Know-Your-Customer Rule (FINRA Rule 2090) and a new Suitability Rule (FINRA Rule 2111). When these rules are read together, the information required of a customer is materially expanded, even in the case of institutional investors. These new rules, effective July 9, 2012, are quite complex; FINRA has issued three regulatory notices to explain them. These new rules are discussed below together with implications for brokerage firms. (more…)

Banks face myriad difficulties in trying to return corrupt Gaddafi money

By Martin Coyle

LONDON, Aug. 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Banks face enormous legal and logistical challenges as they try to repatriate the billions of pounds worth of frozen Libyan assets invested in the war-torn North African state, according to industry officials. The process could take years to resolve even though the United Nations has already unfrozen some $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid which will be sent to the country.

The fears follow the overthrowing of Colonel Gaddafi’s dictatorship by rebel fighters and the formation of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) in Tripoli. It is estimated that as much as $120 billion of Libyan assets are sitting in bank accounts worldwide, including up to $17 billion in the UK alone. UK foreign secretary William Hague said yesterday that it might take a while to repatriate frozen Libyan assets. The U.S. and South Africa last week struck a deal that will see $1.5bn of frozen money released for humanitarian aid by the U.N. The South African government initially had concerns about money being sent to the NTC, which it does not recognise. Diplomacy has smoothed over this, however.

(more…)

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