Financial Regulatory Forum

Big banks’ risky trading should be curbed-Volcker

volcker 2 WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – White House adviser Paul Volcker will urge Congress to curb the risks taken by large banks to help prevent them from being treated as “too big to fail,” according to testimony obtained by Reuters on Monday.
Detailing a recent proposal known as “the Volcker rule,” the former Federal Reserve Chairman will tell lawmakers that commercial banks’ proprietary and speculative activities should not be protected by the government.
He will also urge international consensus on “appropriate” actions to restrict commercial banks’ activities.
Volcker — an adviser to President Barack Obama whose star has risen in recent weeks — will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday to defend the administration’s latest proposal to rein in the banks.
In January, Obama proposed limiting commercial banks’ ability to engage in proprietary trading, to end their ties to hedge funds and private equity funds and to restrict the future growth of large banks beyond a new market share cap.
In his testimony, Volcker will say there are strong conflicts of interest inherent in participation by commercial banks in proprietary or private investment activity.

Companies to disclose iffy tax estimates – IRS

By Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – U.S. tax authorities will soon demand that corporations reveal much more detailed financial information about tax shelters and other complex structures when they file their income taxes, the top U.S. tax official said on Tuesday.

Under new draft guidance, the Internal Revenue Service would require companies to report which tax positions they take that could be “uncertain” or challenged by the IRS.

“These taxpayers would be required to annually disclose uncertain tax positions in the form of a concise description of those positions and the maximum amount of U.S. income tax exposure if the taxpayer’s position is not sustained,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in remarks prepared for a speech to lawyers in New York in announcing the plan.

US stock exchanges push for sub-penny pricing

By Jonathan Spicer

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters) – The major U.S. exchanges are considering asking regulators to allow price quotes in increments as small as one-tenth of a cent for some stocks, a move that could revamp trading fees and the flow of orders in capital markets.

NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX, privately held

BATS Global Markets and alternative venue Direct Edge, which plans to become a formal exchange operator this year, said the most heavily traded stocks could be priced more efficiently if they had narrower increments, or “tick sizes.”

Any narrowing of the ticks would likely involve only a subset of securities, possibly those stocks worth less than $5 or $10, some exchanges said. The current penny increment could be narrowed to a half-penny or as much as a tenth of a penny.

Dutch to support U.S. bank plan, seek EU support

    AMSTERDAM, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos has backed the plan from U.S. President Barack Obama to limit the scope and size of banks and reduce their risk taking and will push to win support of the plan among EU leaders. (more…)

Obama’s bank plan could level high-frequency field

   By Jonathan Spicer
   NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s plan to crack down on proprietary trading at big U.S. banks could spark a new rush of start ups, putting them on equal footing with the established independent trading firms that don’t enjoy the backing of large financial institutions. (more…)

Obama plan could hurt U.S. banks-Swiss banker

   ZURICH, Jan 25 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposals to split traditional banking activities from riskier areas will harm U.S. banks without international co-ordination, a prominent Swiss banker said in Monday’s Financial Times. (more…)

FACTBOX-5 financial reforms missing from US Congress bills

    Jan 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate will resume debate this
month on financial regulatory reform, but a handful of changes
some see as crucial are not on the table. (more…)

ANALYSIS-US Senator Dodd wades into financial reform fight

Dodd shaping up for the fight

Dodd shaping up for the fight

    By Kevin Drawbaugh
   WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) – As Round Two of the U.S. Congress’ punishing fight over financial regulation gets under way this month, one big question is whether Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd will lead with his left. (more…)

Westlaw Business Analysis: SEC Cracks Down on Holdback of Material Schedules

WLB-logoWestlaw  business applies a legal lens to the SEC’s latest moves (more…)

U.S. House approves sweeping financial regulation overhaul

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression on Friday, marking a win for the Obama administration and top Democrats in Congress.

The sweeping bill, which will have to be reconciled with any measure the slower-moving Senate might eventually approve, aims to safeguard the financial system and ward off future crises of the type that punished the nation in the past year with its deepest recession since the 1930s.

The House voted 223-202 to pass the 1,279-page bill, which was hammered out in the months since last year’s crisis convinced Democrats of an urgent need for reform. All of the chamber’s Republicans and 27 Democrats voted against bill.