Financial Regulatory Forum

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…)

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…)

Dos and don’ts on handling a regulatory investigation

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A “highly polarized (and) politicized environment” had made the job of defending against a regulatory investigation particularly challenging, Lawrence Zweifach, a Gibson Dunn law partner, told attendees at a New York City Bar Association program last week. But there are steps a firm can to take to face the challenges.

The high-pressured atmosphere is affecting judges, regulators and legislators, and leading to cases “that will not stand up in the long run” to be brought, said Andrew Levander, a Dechert law partner. (more…)

Shorter securities settlements cycles to be introduced in Europe

By Marianne Brown, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributor

LONDON, Dec. 19 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Earlier this year, the European Commission published its proposals for the regulation of central securities depositories (CSDs), the entities that operate settlement systems. The proposals, known as the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR), seek to improve settlement efficiency across European markets, and are currently working their way through the European Parliament and Council. (more…)

Global firms facing challenges of shifting regulations, their top lawyers say

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The “shifting sands” of regulation, especially since the onset of the financial crisis, are making it more challenging for U.S. public companies to conduct global operations, the top lawyers for three such companies said Friday.

The general counsels – Andrew Bonzani of Interpublic Group, Peter J. Ganz of Ashland Inc. and Elizabeth M. Sacksteder of Citigroup – spoke at the Institute for Corporate Counsel, which was cosponsored by Thomson Reuters and the New York City Bar Association. (more…)

Post-election SEC could emphasize enforcement over rule-writing, says former chair

By Emmanuel Olaoye

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - With the U.S. Congress still politically divided after the elections that returned President Barack Obama to office, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to take an enforcement approach to supervision rather than look to change conduct by writing new rules, former commission chair Harvey Pitt said.

A divided Congress, he said, would struggle to check an SEC that turned to enforcement actions to implement policies it saw as in keeping with the Dodd-Frank Act.

“If you’ve got a split Congress, effectively it means that Congress’s principal weapon (against a regulator) will be holding hearings … That is a lot less of a potent weapon than the notions that if Congress doesn’t like what you do, they may pass a law that curtails your ability to do what you’ve been doing.”

Weak U.S. legal oversight puts burden on compliance pros to protect their firms, author says

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - An inadequate government and industry response to the financial crisis will require compliance professionals to do more to protect their firms, customers and colleagues, Jeff Connaughton, who said he saw firsthand how reform withered in Congress, has told Compliance Complete.

“Until law enforcement causes actual deterrence, compliance needs to understand what institutional and retail customers can – and can’t – stomach. And those customers need to get back to performing exacting due diligence. Until we have tough law enforcement again, institutional customers will have a greater impact on Wall Street behavior than federal prosecutors,” said Connaughton, a former investment banker, aide in President Bill Clinton’s administration, lobbyist and longtime political associate of Vice President Joe Biden. (more…)

Learn the compliance lessons from an epic fail in correspondent banking and trade finance

By Kim R. Manchester, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

NEW YORK, July 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A Settlement Agreement was released in June 2012 by the United States Department of the Treasury regarding the voluntary self-disclosure to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) by ING Bank, N.V. (ING Bank), a financial institution registered and organized in the Netherlands. The violations of numerous sanctions programs imposed by the United States against Cuba, Burma, the Sudan, Libya and Iran were determined by the Americans as “egregious.” (more…)

Suit against U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could force it to define limits to its authority, says banking industry lawyer

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, June 29 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Even if a small bank’s lawsuit challenging the authority and leadership of U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fails in court, it could force the bureau to publicly define its limits, a top banking industry lawyer said.

Joseph Barloon, a partner at Skadden Arps in Washington, said the bureau could be forced to say what it can and cannot do, and provide the banking industry some guidance on the agency’s positions on issues such as mortgage lending. (more…)

U.S. state oversight of small investment advisers takes effect; exams and enforcement loom

By Jason Wallace

SAN DIEGO/NEW YORK, June 28 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A long anticipated and well-publicized deadline for “the switch” is here. According to recent estimates, 2,500 investment advisers with less than $100 million of regulatory assets under management will make the switch from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversight to registration and in one or more states, with the prospect of more frequent exams and vigorous enforcement.
Today’s deadline requires the firm to be registered in the applicable states and withdraw its SEC registration by the end of the day. Although the proverbial switch has been pulled, the regulatory changes have just begun. Newly transitioned mid-sized advisers will now face an imminent regulatory exam and be required to comply with unique state compliance requirements. (more…)

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