Financial Regulatory Forum

Better career paths, new reporting lines as compliance gains status at banks – global report

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Mar. 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The increasingly important role compliance risk management plays in the banking sector is demonstrated in areas ranging from reorganized risk departments to clearer reporting lines and more rewarding career paths, according to a report by the financial consultancy Accenture.

“The roles of the risk, and especially of the compliance, departments have increasingly been gaining stature within banks in the last five years or so,” said Steve Culp, senior managing director of finance and risk services at Accenture. “Banks are more frequently increasingly adopting organizational structures that connect and align the compliance officers more closely with their decision-making bodies, such as with senior management or the board.”  (more…)

Conduct risk: an overview

By Jane Walshe, Compliance Complete

LONDON/NEW YORK, Mar. 19 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Conduct risk is one of the hottest topics in financial services but what exactly is it? This article explores the various definitions of the concept, which can be hard to pin down, put forward by regulators and international standard setting bodies. It will be followed by other articles exploring the findings of Thomson Reuters Accelus’ recent Conduct Risk Report, which provide an industry benchmark showing the work firms are doing in relation to this important area.

The phrase “conduct risk” comprises a wide variety of activities and types of behaviour which fall outside the other main categories of risk, such as market, credit, liquidity and operational risk. In essence it refers to risks attached to the way in which a firm, and its staff, conduct themselves. Although there is no official definition, it is generally agreed to incorporate matters such as how customers are treated, remuneration of staff and how firms deal with conflicts of interest. (more…)

FDIC adds more flesh to “single point of entry” resolution plans, but questions remain

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, under mounting pressure from the industry for greater clarity, announced on Tuesday additional details on its “Single Point of Entry” resolution plans for failed banks.
The basic concept is to close the holding company of a failed firm, and transfer its healthy subsidiaries into a new bridge institution that could be managed while the resolution of the defunct company proceeds. Shareholders would be wiped out under the plan, while unsecured creditors could seek equity claims as a means to recapitalize the new institution. Should the subsidiaries require liquidity to operate, they would borrow from the bridge, which in turn may borrow from an “orderly liquidation fund” funded by the U.S. Treasury. (more…)

Compliance staff can help their firms by reflecting regulators’ expectations, SEC enforcer says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Regulators and compliance and ethics officers share the goals of preventing unlawful or improper conduct and cultivating effective cultures that promote integrity and respect for the law, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said.

These goals can be better achieved through “a good compliance program” that extends throughout the business and protects it by reflecting the SEC’s expectations, Stephen L. Cohen, an SEC associate enforcement director, told members of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics last week. (more…)

Reforming banking’s risk culture requires breaking “accountability firewall”

By Henry Engler, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 11 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - If there is one part of the cultural makeup of Wall Street that remains firmly in place despite the financial crisis and subsequent avalanche of regulations, it is the reticence among those who lose money to come clean early.

Many of the most spectacular losses in recent years — whether the JPMorgan “London Whale” episode, the UBS “rogue trader” incident, or Jerome Kerviel’s manipulation of internal systems at Société Générale — have all had one thing in common: concealment of trades gone badly wrong, or at a minimum, a lack of transparency and early acknowledgement of losses. And if one can point to a single reason for such behavior, it is the well-known fact that raising the red flag would mean the individual responsible would be shown the door. (more…)

AML again a top priority for broker-dealer exams, FINRA says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

(Additional reporting by Suzanne Barlyn of Reuters)

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Anti-money laundering compliance will again be a focus of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority examinations this year, particularly at broker-dealers with higher-risk business models due to their clients, products and service mix, or locations.

HSBC’s $1.9 billion fine last month highlighted, among other things, the potential AML risks associated with foreign affiliates and the business they transact through their U.S. financial institution affiliates, FINRA said in its 2013 annual regulatory and examination priorities letter(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…)

Anti-laundering officers and regulatory official call for U.S. guidance on banking marijuana businesses

By Brett Wolf

ST. LOUIS/NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Anti-money laundering officers and a top official with a federal banking regulator on Monday called on the U.S. Treasury and Justice departments to clarify for banks whether they can provide services to marijuana businesses.

These calls to action, which were offered during a discussion panel at an anti-money laundering conference in the U.S. capital were prompted by the ballot measures that last week made Colorado and Washington state the first states to permit recreational marijuana sale and use.  (more…)

Collateral management reform could herald benefits for risk managers

By Rachel Wolcott

LONDON/NEW YORK, July 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Risk managers could benefit from the financial services industry’s revamp of collateral management services in preparation for the new regulatory requirements that will drive demand for high-quality collateral. New regulations for the clearing of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives through central counterparties (CCPs) alone could increase demand for high-quality collateral to $2 trillion or more, according to some estimates. In response, some firms are aiming for a more universal approach to collateral management.

Many firms still take a rather old-fashioned view of collateral management. It is often fragmented and inefficient. Most firms operate collateral management in silos determined by geography or asset class. This can lead to poor communication between different collateral management functions — for example, repo staff might not speak to the securities lending unit, or the New York office might not speak to its UK counterpart as much or as often as it should.  (more…)

Beyond the numbers: do banks manage risk?

By Rachel Wolcott

LONDON, June 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - It may seem like a subtle difference, but most of what banks call ‘risk management’ is often more akin to ‘risk measurement’. It is a myth that banks are in possession of fancy gadgetry that allows them to measure risk on a minute-by-minute basis from a specialised risk-control tower and react to it effectively, thus averting catastrophe. Instead, the financial crisis and trading losses, such as JPMorgan’s $2 billion blow-up in May, have shown that by the time banks measure and understand their risks, it is too late. Risk management is not about controlling risk, but about offsetting its impact after the fact.

Far from being a powerful high-tech unit within a firm that is charged with hedging risks on a macro basis — the way, for example, that JPMorgan’s chief investment office has been portrayed — risk management is more fragmented and limited. That is why many banks were badly hit when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. It was just too difficult to get a picture of what their positions, exposures and risks were, let alone manage them. This is because, in many cases, banks’ risk management still has more to do with number crunching and measuring risk for compliance and regulatory purposes, such as regulatory capital requirements, credit value adjustment and counterparty risk. Managing risk, however, is something few firms do well, and they are certainly unable to do so in a holistic way. (more…)

  •