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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.

Feb 15, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

India amends foreign currency convertible bond rules

NEW DELHI, Feb 15 (Reuters) – India on Monday amended rules for foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCB) to allow issuers to revise their conversion price, a move aimed at reducing price uncertainty in a volatile equity market.

The change will give issuers a window of 6 months to adjust the conversion price of their bonds to the higher of either the two weeks average or the six months average of the issuing company’s stock.

Feb 11, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

Talks resume in U.S. Senate on financial reform

WASHINGTON, Feb 11 (Reuters) – In an unusual move that cuts a senior Republican out of the loop, bipartisan U.S. Senate negotiations have resumed on financial regulation reform, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday.

Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, said in a statement that he has begun talks on legislation with Bob Corker, a first-term Republican member of the panel handling a sweeping regulatory overhaul package.

Feb 9, 2010
via Financial Regulatory Forum

INTERVIEW – Proxy access for all, U.S. SEC Commissioner says

By Rachelle Younglai

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – All publicly traded companies should be required to give shareholders a way to influence the composition of their corporate boards, a top U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission official said on Tuesday.

Luis Aguilar, one of five officials who decides on federal securities rules, said companies should not be given the option to opt out of potential rules being considered by his agency.