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Mar 24, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

ANALYSIS – Dodd bill takes pass on key U.S. broker reforms

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By Helen Kearney

NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) – As Senator Christopher Dodd’s financial regulatory reform bill heads to the full Senate, brokerages for now have escaped tougher regulation thanks largely to fierce lobbying by insurers.

A bill approved by the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday took a pass on two big issues affecting financial advisers — a uniform fiduciary standard for all professionals advising investors and rules that mandate brokerage customers take disputes to an industry arbitration panel.

Mar 4, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

Germany wants reports of bank-stock short positions

FRANKFURT, March 4 (Reuters) – German financial watchdog Bafin will introduce new rules this month requiring reporting of short sale positions in major German financial stocks.

The new rules, which come into effect on March 25, will let Bafin intervene effectively if it determines that short positions may threaten financial stability, the watchdog said in a statement.

Mar 3, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

SNAP ANALYSIS-Austerity steps to ease, not end Greek crisis

By Andrew Torchia

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – Austerity steps announced by Greece on Wednesday may pave the way for European Union government aid, easing fears that Greece could lose its ability to borrow from debt markets at affordable rates.

But market worries about Greece are likely to remain acute for the foreseeable future, and doubts will remain over its ability to hit fiscal targets amid a deep recession.

Mar 2, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

New Basel rules could hit synthetic CDOs – Goldman Sachs

By Jane Baird

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) – New bank capital rules could deal the final blow to any resurgence of deals in synthetic collateralised debt obligations as well as hurt the value of $330 billion of existing triple-A tranches, Goldman Sachs said.

Proposed changes to Basel II rules, effective end-2010, would increase bank capital requirements by an estimated 11.5 percent overall and 223.7 percent in the trading book, according to a study by the Bank for International Settlements.

Feb 18, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

New Zealand aims to align tax rates, boost capital markets

WELLINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – New Zealand wants to align tax rates paid by company, individual and trusts to improve the country’s economic performance and is also looking at policies to boost its capital markets, government ministers said on Thursday.

Finance Minister Bill English said his government’s medium-term goal was to have company, trust and top personal rates at the same level, but was looking to see if such a move was affordable and fair.

Feb 17, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

Fannie, Freddie regulator pitches new housing goals

By Al Yoon

NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) – The federal regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of government rules on how the mortgage funding giants serve low-income homeowners while limiting their risks.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency wants new goals that would target borrowers with lower incomes than in the past — including families with incomes at or below 80 percent of their area’s median, down from 100 percent — while giving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more flexibility in measuring success.

Feb 17, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

Fed mulling debt sales as U.S. economy recovers

By Pedro da Costa and Mark Felsenthal

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Several Federal Reserve policymakers want to begin selling securities relatively soon to cut back on the massive amount of cash they have poured into the financial system, the U.S. central bank said on Wednesday.

Minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting in January suggested officials remain positive about the economy’s prospects even as they worry about the impact of an elevated unemployment rate, which they see holding near the current 9.7 percent through 2010.

Feb 17, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

ANALYSIS-Big traders face ‘landmine’ in CFTC energy rule

By Christopher Doering and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Buried deep in the proposal to set position limits on oil and gas futures is a possible “landmine” that could force the industry’s biggest traders to make a stark choice: Keep your hedging exemptions, or keep your speculative book. But you can’t keep both.

Weeks after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

unveiled its long-awaited proposal to prevent concentration in energy markets, industry executives have zeroed in on a little-noticed clause that would force big players to exit speculative trading positions if they wrest an exemption from

Feb 16, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

France draws up tax blacklist, to apply sanctions

PARIS, Feb 16 (Reuters) – France has drawn up a list of 18 countries accused of failing to cooperate on tax issues, and will slap punitive taxes on certain financial transactions involving them, an official document showed on Tuesday.

The document, obtained by Reuters, was signed by Economy Minister Christine Lagarde and Budget Minister Eric Woerth and lists Central American and Asian countries as well as tiny Caribbean and Pacific island nations.

Feb 16, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

EU to recommend start of Iceland talks – EU official

By Justyna Pawlak

BRUSSELS, Feb 16 (Reuters) – The European Commission will recommend next week that the European Union begin accession talks with Iceland, an EU official said on Tuesday, launching a process Reykjavik hopes will lead to EU membership by 2012.

Iceland, an island of 320,000 people in the far north of Europe, had been reluctant to join the bloc for decades and only applied last year when the global financial crisis devastated its banking system.