Financial Regulatory Forum

Einhorn/Greenlight Capital fine highlights duty for investors to seek absolute clarity over inside information

By Martin Coyle and Alex Robson

LONDON/NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A decision by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) to fine hedge fund manager David Einhorn and his Greenlight Capital fund 7.3 million pounds ($11.5 million) has highlighted the need for professional investors to ascertain clearly what constitutes inside information, securities lawyers said. The FSA said that it fined Einhorn 3.64 million pounds and Greenlight Capital 3.65 million pounds for using inside information that he obtained from a broker before selling shares in a UK public company in 2009. Einhorn’s is the biggest scalp by far of the FSA’s renewed determination to punish market manipulation as part of its “credible deterrence” policy.

The regulator said that Einhorn learned from a telephone conversation with the broker that British pub company Punch Taverns was on the verge of a significant equity fundraising, prompting the New York-based financier to sell down his holdings before an anticipated fall in the shares. (more…)

Regulatory round-up — U.S. rules to know in 2012

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, Dec. 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Several recently adopted rules in the U.S. are going into effect for specific types of firms in 2012. These rules include ones released by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Federal Reserve, issued to implement the Dodd-Frank Act and as a response to market developments.

The SEC-adopted rules requiring reporting by advisers to hedge funds and by large traders of securities are explained below. We also cover the CFTC final rules on derivative clearing firms in the swaps market and provide a summary of the Fed’s final rules on living wills for large banks, and non-bank systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), under the Dodd-Frank Act. (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…)

Fast-moving MF Global case offers early lessons for compliance

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Charges that hundreds of millions of dollars are missing from the accounts of MF Global’s clients raise the question of whether powerful executives at the firm influenced the independence of internal auditors as the futures brokerage scrambled for survival.

MF Global, which collapsed over risky trades on European debt, faces a shortfall of $633 million in customer funds, the CME Group Inc. has estimated. (more…)

COLUMN – Rogue traders, delta trading and exchange-traded funds

By Helen Parry, the views expressed are her own.

LONDON, Oct. 7 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - There are many common features in cases of rogue or unauthorised trading, including the use by ostensibly riskless arbitrage traders of fictitious trades on internal systems to mask their unhedged positions. One obvious feature that is present in many rogue trader cases has been a failure in trade confirmation systems and controls. This feature frequently appears conterminously with the fact that a trader has intimate knowledge of and/or power and influence over middle and back office systems. (more…)

U.S. SEC warns brokers over market access, sub-accounts in debut “risk alert”


By Stuart Gittleman and Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an unexpected warning to broker-dealers to supervise trading by customers with direct market access, especially customers that trade using master- and sub-accounts.

The notice came in the first in a continuing series of risk alerts the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) staff expects to issue. The staff did not say whether OCIE found related deficiencies, or at what level, in recent exams, or in reviewing the findings of recent exams by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  (more…)

U.S. SEC finds a new asset class for insider trading: ETFs

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – In its first such action involving exchange-traded funds, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former Goldman Sachs employee with trading on confidential information about the firm’s trading strategies and plans he learned while working on its ETF desk.

An SEC official said the facts of the case may be unique. But the element of arbitrage in underlying components of the ETF echoes mutual fund trading probes in 2003 that rocked the industry.  (more…)

Corporate Governance: Staggered U.S. boards are endangered species

By Erik Krusch

NEW YORK, March 23 (Westlaw Business) – Classified boards may be moving towards the endangered species list, as investors and even management are hunting them down.

Valero and Biogen Idec’s management teams, for example, are recommending that shareholders approve amendments declassifying their respective boards. Other corporations, such as Alcoa and McDonald’s Corp, however, are fighting their shareholders’ attempts to level their staggered boards. It remains to be seen how many staggered boards emerge from this proxy season unscathed. (more…)

NYSE and Deutsche Borse: New York not home, so merger far from home-free

A U.S. flag hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange building, February 15, 2011. Deutsche Boerse will take over NYSE Euronext to create the world's largest exchange operator in a deal that dodges key questions that could yet threaten its completion. REUTERS/Joshua Lott Feb. 18 (Westlaw Business) The much-ballyhooed merger of the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange with that of German exchange Deutsche Borse makes two things clear – if they can make it through the thicket of global regulatory approvals and similarly convince their shareholders to tender into the offer, they’re home free. The just-filed agreement and related corporate governance documents make equally clear that “home” will not really be New York, and the NYSE Euronext will be the New York Stock Exchange no more.  This may make regulatory approval that much more difficult, with U.S. regulators in particular looking at issues from antitrust to financial markets, to national security. (more…)

COLUMN-Two paths to failure on Dodd-Frank

capitol bldg 2 RTXX2LO_Comp.jpg(Scott McCleskey is a managing editor for the ThomsonReuters Governance, Risk and Compliance unit. The views expressed are his own)

By Scott McCleskey

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 (Complinet) – With all the chest-thumping about U.S. financial reform last year, you would suppose that the regulatory authorities responsible for implementing the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act would now have the political wind at their back.

This is particularly the case given the tight deadline for most of the provisions — on or before the July 21 anniversary of the Act’s enactment. You would be wrong. Both sides of the aisle in Congress have taken or threatened steps which only serve to undermine the process of regulatory reform and leave the market with all the costs and none of the benefits of reform. (more…)

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