Financial Regulatory Forum

SEC cracks down on disclosure of lawsuit costs (Westlaw News & Insight)

By Carlyn Kolker

NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters Legal) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is cracking down on corporate disclosure of litigation costs, a Reuters Legal analysis has found. In particular, the agency is targeting banks and other institutions that have reported large settlements of financial crisis-related lawsuits that they had not disclosed in prior regulatory filings. (more…)

ANALYSIS-New U.S. funds regulator at SEC must shed Goldman skin

The headquarters of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are seen in Washington, July 6, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES BUSINESS POLITICS)By Ross Kerber and Sarah N. Lynch

BOSTON/WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) – For U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, the choice of a Goldman Sachs Group  insider as her new top funds regulator could be a double-edged sword.

Eileen Rominger will have to prove she can be a neutral regulator of the industry from which she came. She spent the past 11 years at Goldman Sachs, most recently as chief investment officer of Goldman’s asset management unit before announcing her retirement in September. (more…)

Can hedge funds double dip under Dodd-Frank whistleblower rules? (Westlaw Business)

By Jesse R. Morton

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Westlaw Business) – Whistleblower provisions in Dodd-Frank may have handed hedge funds a golden opportunity and the SEC a unique challenge.

Funds have long conducted unique analyses that power their trading strategies and at times prompt quite public “revelations” of possible funny business. Think Greenlight Capital’s company-shaking revelations about Lehman Brothers in 2008 and Allied Capital in 2002.

Though the law remains unclear on this issue, its quite-intentional similarity to pre-existing approaches under the False Claims Act and the whistleblower program of the IRS may provide funds with a profitable two-fer. Though not necessarily the intent of Dodd-Frank’s enacters, one is left to wonder as to the role of shorts, touted (by shorts), as de-facto enforcement division of the SEC. (more…)

U.S. financial regulation: Three things to watch, and two not to, in 2011 – Complinet column

MARKETS-STOCK/By Scott McCleskey, Complinet

The past year was a busy one for those interested in financial reform – you know, Dodd-Frank and all that. But the new year will be even more fateful in shaping the markets for decades to come. It is likely to be the most critical of the post-financial crisis period. The reason is that Dodd-Frank only gave the regulators their marching orders, and 2010 mostly saw just the preliminaries to the really tough regulation. It will be in 2011 that actual rules will be proposed, finalized and implemented – and all by mid-year, if deadlines are met. It will also be when the Republicans hit the beach in the House and attempt to moderate or reverse many of the reforms already underway.

There will be a tidal wave of Dodd-Frank work, and some areas of focus are already obvious. The launch and first steps of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be one, and the rather iffy implementation of derivatives regulation will be another. These items have been and will continue to be covered by this organization and others. But there are other items largely outside the Dodd-Frank ecosystem which bear a close watch over the coming year – and there are also some receiving a lot of press lately which can be ignored. (more…)

Regulation and the day the machines took over -The Scott McCleskey Report

HIGHFREQUENCY/By Scott McCleskey, Complinet

It took five months, a PhD in Physics, a Nobel Prize winner and a staff of quants, but the SEC and CFTC have now figured out what happened to the markets during the “flash crash” in May. Given the well-orchestrated string of sneak-peeks the SEC had given before the publication of the joint report,  the findings weren’t particularly surprising. Nevertheless, they are enlightening both for what they tell us about the state of the markets and for what they tell us about the assumptions we have made when regulating them. The upshot: markets aren’t efficient, and rulemakers should stop acting as if they are.

(more…)

ANALYSIS-New Jersey case puts U.S. muni issuers on alert

By Lisa Lambert and Joan Gralla

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Municipal bond issuers are on high alert after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged the state of New Jersey with fraud for failing to disclose to bond buyers it had underfunded the state’s pensions.

The SEC move on Wednesday was groundbreaking for several reasons. It was the first time the SEC charged a state for violating federal securities laws. New Jersey agreed to settle the case.

It also highlighted the increasing attention the federal government is paying to those who sell municipal bonds, the tax-exempt debt that pay for roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

Financial regulation scorecard

A House-Senate conference committee must find a middle ground between financial regulation bills passed by the two chambers. The committee’s final report could differ from earlier versions.

Once approved by both chambers, the compromise legislation will go to President Barack Obama to sign it into law. That could happen by July 4, analysts say.

Here’s a look at the status of major points in the House and Senate financial regulation bills.

from DealZone:

The afternoon deal: Regulation overdrive

MOTOR-RACING-NASCAR/A joint Senate-House of Representatives conference committee convened at 2:15 p.m. EDT to begin merging competing bills from each chamber into what will be the biggest overhaul of the financial rules since the 1930s. Columnist John Kemp explains the simple conference process and the not so simple reality of merging the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the financial reform bill. The "base text" for the regulatory bill is here.

Not to be overshadowed by the financial regulation bill, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it plans to boost scrutiny of high-frequency trading, which now accounts for as much as half of all U.S. futures volume, and was fingered for its role in the May 6 stock market "flash crash." Get the details of the co-location proposal here.

The SEC approved new so-called circuit breakers. The rules will require the exchanges to pause trading in certain stocks across U.S. equities markets if the price moves 10 percent or more in a five-minute period.

Market Structure Moves to Top of Regulatory Agenda

The SEC’s chief said the growing concerns about technological changes in the capital markets are going to drive much of the agency’s agenda for the rest of the year. She fears creation of a two-tier system—one for hedge funds and other large traders and a more limited tier for everyone else. Her goal includes passing a series of rules designed to update the basic principle of market fairness that was established at the agency’s founding during the New Deal, according to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint’s WG&L Accounting & Compliance Alert. (more…)

Goldman Getting Ahead of Bad News?

Goldman Sachs’s disclosure pendulum appears to have now sharply swung in the other direction, Matthew Merrin of Thomson Reuters Westlaw Business Currents writes. (more…)

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