Financial Regulatory Forum

CORRECTED: Bank regulators globally add AML to safety and soundness issues

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, July 8 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Bank regulators around the globe are increasingly focusing on anti-money laundering (AML) and operational risks as part of their role in overseeing institutional safety and soundness. This follows huge enforcement fines imposed on systemically important banks by regulators and justice ministries. It also reflects a concern that any attendant hit on a bank’s reputation could affect its ability to obtain short-term funding or trade other than on a fully-secured basis.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision last week proposed standards on money laundering risks, which require banks to include AML within their firm-wide risk management process. “Basel’s commitment to AML is fully aligned with its mandate to strengthen the regulation, supervision and practices of banks worldwide, with the purpose of enhancing financial stability,” the committee stated on issuing the proposal for consultation. (more…)

No bank is ‘too big to jail,’ U.S. Attorney General Holder warns

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Corruption, cyber threats and transnational organized crime – and the money laundering that greases the wheels of illicit commerce – are high on the list of law enforcement priorities, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (more…)

U.S. class-action securities settlements fewer but more costly in 2012 after IPO slump, credit crisis; Libor looms

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Mar. 26 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Court-approved securities class action settlements reported in 2012 were at a 14-year low and 18 percent fewer than in 2011 but they cost defendants twice as much as the prior year, a report released Wednesday said.

The study by the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse and Cornerstone Research associated settlement values with factors including the presence of enforcement actions related to the lawsuits. This may hold clues to the outcomes in recently litigation over alleged manipulation of the global lending benchmark LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate.  (more…)

UBS felony plea in Libor deal ushers in tougher enforcement era

By Nick Paraskeva, Compliance Complete contributor

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The UBS felony fraud plea for manipulating reporting of the Libor interbank lending rate marks a regulatory turning point towards tougher enforcement. After the U.S. election confirmed Dodd-Frank is here to stay, and with most Group of 20 reforms mapped out, rulemaking will proceed at a slower pace. The shift will impact the financial-industry, both in the U.S. and globally, which will face a greater supervisory willingness to impose high penalties, and a focus on ethical compliance.

“Today’s announcement – and $1.5 billion global resolution – underscores the Justice Department’s firm commitment to investigating and prosecuting such conduct, and to holding perpetrators of these crimes accountable for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in announcing the deal this week. His involvement in the enforcement was notable, as previous announcements have been made by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. (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…)

Staging “Macbeth” in Manhattan: enforcement in the aftermath of Libor and Standard Chartered

By Justin O’Brien, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

LONDON/NEW YORK, Aug. 31 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Despite the lack of commentary from either the White House or federal executive agencies, the Standard Chartered investigation — and the manner in which it was handled — is certain to reignite the festering feud over how to regulate finance. Absent the physical bloodshed, the power struggle for control of banking regulation and how to change its culture finds remarkable parallels in Macbeth, the classic Shakespearean tale of political infighting. As with Banquo’s Ghost, the spectre of Eliot Spitzer and his battles with federal counterparts over the purpose of regulation looms large.  (more…)

Barclays scandal highlights value of monitoring and testing – governance experts

By Emmanuel Olaoye

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, July 10 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A major theme in the Barclays scandal over rate-rigging is the firm’s failure to conduct adequate monitoring and testing of its compliance program, governance experts have told Thomson Reuters Accelus.

Barclays has agreed to pay $453 million to settle charges by U.S. and UK authorities that its employees manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, a key benchmark for global financial transactions, including payments on mortgages, credit cards and other financial contracts.  (more…)

Barclays case gives U.S. futures regulator more clout on overseas derivatives, funding

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, July 5 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s $200 million settlement with Barclays for manipulation and false reporting of benchmark interest rates not only helped fuel a firestorm that consumed the bank’s top management. It also gives the futures regulator more clout to apply new Dodd-Frank swaps rules to activities abroad despite industry and political opposition, and to make a case against congressional Republicans for a strong enforcement budget.

The CFTC joined the U.S. Justice Department and Britain’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) in settling allegations that Barclays had manipulated Libor interbank rates in London that affect U.S. consumers and markets. The fine paid to the CFTC was the largest monetary penalty in the case, and the enforcement came hard on the heels of the revelation by JPMorgan Chase that it had discovered losses on its UK derivatives transactions that may grow to as much as $9 billion. (more…)

Barclays may have “early bird discount” in Libor cases

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK/LONDON, June 28 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The $453 million settlement Wednesday between Barclays and UK and U.S. officials over the manipulation of a global interest-rate setting formula may be the first in a series of big-money settlements, and those who strike a deal later may face steeper terms.

“I think additional settlements with the other [banks potentially involved in the conduct] are likely,” said Peter Henning, a former U.S. federal prosecutor and enforcement lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission who teaches law at Wayne State University in Detroit. (more…)

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