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…)

SEC whistleblower rules raise risk for companies, lawyers say (Complinet)

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (Complinet) Proposed increases in federal rewards for whistleblowers who report securities violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission raise the risk that employees will go outside their firms to report trouble, according to industry officials. Firms can avoid being the victims of potential whistleblowers by better publicizing their internal channels for reporting wrongdoing and getting creative with incentives for using them, they said. (more…)

ANALYSIS-Companies could get caught in Asia as corruption rules tighten

By Rachel Armstrong

SINGAPORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Multinational firms trying to get a bigger piece of the Asia growth story face a rising risk of becoming embroiled in corruption scandals unless they enforce stricter compliance norms and new regulations.

The region may have moved centre stage in many companies’ growth strategies as developed economies struggle but firms are also scrutinising investment projects even more and stepping up due diligence before jumping into new joint ventures and M&A. (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…)

Swapping the rules: derivatives concern SEC, CFTC and the market (Westlaw Business)

Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, gestures as he testifies before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing on the Role of Derivatives in the Financial Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington July 1, 2010. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

(Westlaw Business) - Swap markets and players were a main focus of Dodd-Frank, yet the SEC and CFTC were left to work out the details. The market, from Ropes & Gray to the Reinsurance Association of America, has provided these regulators with public comment and disclosure commentary. Now that the public comment period has drawn to a close, one thing is clear: issues from “security-based swap” to “swap participant” are certain to have big impact on a broad array of companies, both in financial services and beyond.

Enacted on July 21, 2010, Dodd-Frank incorporated a 360-day-window for the Act’s wrinkles to be smoothed out before implementation. One of the first casualties has been the CFTC’s rejection of discretionary Grandfather relief the Act allows the Commission to provide. Some 300 days remain in which all Dodd-Frank’s administrative detail work must be concluded. According to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, 30 teams have been dedicated to address the key policy and drafting issues of the new law. The working definitions of affecting the entire derivatives industry now rest in the hands of the SEC and CFTC.

Title VII of the Act, subtitled Wall Street Transparency and Accountability, defines terms as part of a complex scheme to regulate swap markets and security-based swap markets. The law looks to curtail the kinds of highly leveraged derivatives trades that have the potential to wreck the U.S. economy (again). Even more acutely, the act seeks to prevent Federally regulated institutions from (more) taxpayer bailouts. Market experts, however, have expressed concern that without narrow tailoring, these changes could not only increase compliance costs and margin requirements, but erect barriers to entry and foreclose the use of important risk management tools.

ANALYSIS-EU, U.S. supervisors face derivatives test

By Huw Jones

LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Differences between new European Union and U.S. rules to crackdown on derivatives will be a key test of how well transatlantic regulators can coordinate to iron out loopholes banks may be tempted to exploit.

The United States has already approved a law to tighten supervision of the $615 trillion off-exchange derivatives markets and the EU published its own draft law on Wednesday.

Both implement pledges the EU and United States made as members of the Group of 20 countries (G20) to require central clearing of as many contracts as possible, reporting of trades to repositories and where appropriate, trading on an exchange.

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.

ANALYSIS-When in doubt on Wall Street reform, order a study!

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) – The sweeping Wall Street reform bill moving through the U.S. Congress calls for no fewer than 39 studies — an impressive level of trying to look busy while dodging controversy, even by Washington standards.

In what amounts to a full employment act for policy analysts, the 2,300-page bill seeks further inquiry on topics ranging from “ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae  (and) Freddie Mac  to “oversight of carbon markets.”

(more…)

  •