Posts Tagged ‘Financial reform’

Practical Guidance on Macroprudential Finance-Regulatory Reform

Posted by June Rhee, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Friday November 22, 2013 at 9:20 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Robert Hockett, Professor of Financial and International Economic Law at Cornell Law School.

The global financial troubles of 2008-09, with whose debt-deflationary macroeconomic consequences [1] the world continues to struggle, [2] exposed weaknesses in many financial sector oversight regimes. Most of these had in common their focus on the safety and soundness of individual financial institutions to the exclusion of the stability of financial systems as wholes—wholes whose structural features render them more than mere sums of their institutional parts.

A number of academic, governmental, and other finance-regulatory authorities, myself included, [3] have accordingly concluded that an appropriately inclusive finance-regulatory oversight regime must concern itself as much with the identification and mitigation of systemic risk as with that of institutional risk. Once primarily ‘microprudential’ finance-regulatory oversight and policy instruments, in other words, are now understood to be in need of supplementation with ‘macroprudential’ finance-regulatory oversight and policy instruments.

Now because finance-regulatory policy in most jurisdictions is implemented through law, all of the weaknesses inherent in exclusively microprudential finance-regulatory regimes are, among other things, legal problems. They are weaknesses in what some non-American lawyers call existing ‘legal frameworks.’ Many countries in consequence are now looking to update their legal frameworks for finance-regulatory oversight, supplementing their traditional microprudential foci and methods with macroprudential counterparts.

…continue reading: Practical Guidance on Macroprudential Finance-Regulatory Reform

A Simpler Approach to Financial Reform

Posted by June Rhee, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday October 17, 2013 at 9:20 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Morgan Ricks at Vanderbilt Law School.

There is a growing consensus that new financial reform legislation may be in order. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, while well-intended, is now widely viewed to be at best insufficient, at worst a costly misfire. Members of Congress are considering new and different measures. Some have proposed substantially higher capital requirements for the largest financial firms; others favor an updated version of the old Glass-Steagall regime.

In A Simpler Approach to Financial Reform, forthcoming in Regulation, I suggest a different and simpler strategy. This simpler approach would be compatible with other financial stability reforms. However, in the first instance, it is better understood as a substitute for Dodd-Frank and other measures. The simpler approach would require new legislation. It consists of the following specific measures, starting from a pre-Dodd-Frank baseline:

…continue reading: A Simpler Approach to Financial Reform

“Cowboy Company”

Posted by Bart Chilton, Commissioner, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, on Monday August 19, 2013 at 9:35 am
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Editor’s Note: Bart Chilton is a Commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This post is based on Commissioner Chilton’s remarks to the Amcot 2013 Business Conference in Lake Tahoe, California, available here.

When people think of Tahoe, they may ponder “Tahoe, oh—skiing, the Lake, maybe golf or gambling. Heck, let’s go.” But today, well, let’s switch it up and talk about the Old West and Tahoe aglow, back in the day. This is a fitting place to do just that. The Ponderosa Ranch, from Bonanza, was just over yonder, on the Nevada side of the Lake. Remember the Cartwright’s? There was Ben who survived three wives, but begets a son from each one: Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. And just a few miles from here, they hold the Genoa Cowboy Festival at the site of the first ranch in Nevada. (Not the Mustang Ranch—that’s 15 minutes east of Reno. Hey, you at the door, where ya going?) The first ranch in Nevada was Trimmer Ranch No. 1. Let’s assume there were others. The oldest saloon in Nevada is also in Genoa. A portion of the original bar from the 1800’s is still in use. And, the local phone book lists at least 25 places to “get your boots on” and get a pair.

Right about now, some of you might be thinking, “Whoa, hold your horses there, long hair.” Isn’t this supposed to be about financial regulation or commodity markets or something?” Yeah, Sundance, it is. We’re just going to kick up the dust a bit as we “tumble along with the tumbling tumbleweeds” and have our cordial conversationalizing. After all, like George Strait sings, “I ain’t here for a long time. I’m here for a good time.” So, let’s get to it and talk some about the Old West and our financial markets today.

…continue reading: “Cowboy Company”

Alternatives to LIBOR

Posted by Joseph Grundfest, Stanford Law School, on Thursday August 8, 2013 at 9:26 am
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Editor’s Note: Joseph A. Grundfest is the W. A. Franke Professor of Law and Business at Stanford University Law School. The following post is based on an article co-authored by Professor Grundfest and Rebecca Tabb.

Revelations that bank traders attempted to manipulate LIBOR, the London Interbank Offer Rate, on a widespread and routine basis over the course of many years have rocked the global financial community and fueled international calls for reform. In response, the U.K. Government completely overhauled the governance of LIBOR, adopting in full the recommendations of the Wheatley Review, an independent review of LIBOR led by Martin Wheatley, CEO of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. Among other reforms, effective April 1, 2013, both “providing information in relation to” LIBOR and administering LIBOR are regulated activities in the United Kingdom. In addition, a new, independent administrator will provide oversight of LIBOR. NYSE Euronext, selected as the first administrator under the new regime, will begin oversight of LIBOR at the beginning of next year.

These reform efforts are an important first step towards restoring the credibility of LIBOR as an interest rate benchmark. The reforms instituted to date, however, do not address more fundamental concerns with LIBOR. In particular, even non-manipulated submissions sometimes bear little relation to actual market transactions because few market transactions occur in certain interbank unsecured lending markets, particularly in times of market stress. As Mervyn King has observed, LIBOR “[i]s in many ways the rate at which banks do not lend to each other…it is not a rate at which anyone is actually borrowing.”

…continue reading: Alternatives to LIBOR

Too Early to Tell if Dodd-Frank Ends “Too Big To Fail”

Posted by Bradley K. Sabel, Shearman & Sterling LLP, on Saturday June 15, 2013 at 9:35 am
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Editor’s Note: Bradley Sabel is partner and co-head of the Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory practice group at Shearman & Sterling LLP. This post is based on a Shearman & Sterling client publication by Donald N. Lamson and David L. Portilla; the full text, including footnotes, diagram, and chart, is available here.

The debate regarding “too big to fail” (“TBTF”) has reemerged as a focus of regulators, legislators and the media. We review the regulatory activity since the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted and show that new proposals intended to address TBTF tend to put the policy cart before the regulatory implementation horse.

By our count, regulators have amassed over 1,650 pages in proposed and final rules that seek to address TBTF, which we roughly define as proposals that seek to limit the size of financial institutions, the scope of their activities or otherwise seek to protect the Federal safety net (which we use as a term to refer to any Federal assistance, including deposit insurance). In addition, there are provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“DFA”) which address TBTF that do not require rulemaking.

Despite this volume of regulatory work to implement the DFA’s reforms, which is mostly not yet complete, proposals for new measures are being put forward, including:

…continue reading: Too Early to Tell if Dodd-Frank Ends “Too Big To Fail”

Federal Reserve Board Governor Tarullo Outlines Potential Regulatory Initiatives

Editor’s Note: H. Rodgin Cohen is a partner and senior chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP focusing on acquisition, corporate governance, regulatory and securities law matters. This post is based on a Sullivan & Cromwell publication by Mr. Cohen and Samuel R. Woodall III.

On May 3, 2013, Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo delivered a speech outlining potential regulatory initiatives before the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. In this speech, entitled “Evaluating Progress in Regulatory Reforms to Promote Financial Stability,” Governor Tarullo acknowledged that substantial progress has been made in achieving financial regulatory reform, but he maintains that much more is still needed. [1]

Even beyond the substantive impact of the reforms proposed by Governor Tarullo, his speech is particularly noteworthy for two reasons. First, Governor Tarullo oversees the Federal Reserve Board’s banking supervision and regulation function and was recently appointed as Chairman of the Financial Stability Board’s Standing Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Cooperation. Second, in the past, Governor Tarullo has used similar speeches to forecast the Federal Reserve’s upcoming regulatory initiatives.

Governor Tarullo’s speech focuses on three general areas of increased regulatory scrutiny: (1) large financial institutions generally; (2) large financial institutions that rely on short-term wholesale funding; and (3) short-term wholesale funding markets, in particular those for securities financing transactions (SFTs). Governor Tarullo proposes a number of regulatory requirements to address what he perceives as the unfinished business of regulatory reform, including both macro- and micro-prudential requirements at an institution-specific level and market practice level.

…continue reading: Federal Reserve Board Governor Tarullo Outlines Potential Regulatory Initiatives

Better Governance of Financial Institutions

Posted by June Rhee, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Wednesday April 3, 2013 at 9:26 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Klaus J. Hopt, a professor and director (emeritus) at the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, in Hamburg and was advisor inter alia for the European Commission, the German legislator and the Ministries of Finance and of Justice.

Banks are special, so is corporate governance of banks. It differs considerably from general corporate governance. Specific corporate governance needs exist also for insurance companies and other financial institutions. This article, Better Governance of Financial Institutions, analyzes the economic, legal and comparative research on governance of financial institutions and covers the reforms by the European Commission, the European Banking Authority, CDR IV and Solvency II up to the end of 2012. External corporate governance, in particular by the market of corporate control (takeovers), is more important for firms than for banks, at least under continental European practice.

For financial institutions, the scope of corporate governance goes beyond the shareholders (equity governance) to include debtholders, insurance policy holders and other creditors (debt governance). Some include the state as stakeholder, but the role of the state is better understood as setting the rules of the game in a regulated industry. From the perspective of supervision debt governance is the primary governance concern. Equity governance and debt governance face partly parallel and partly divergent interests of management, shareholders, debtholders and other creditors, and supervisors. Economic theory and practice show that management tends to be risk-averse for lack of diversification but may be more risk-prone because of equity-based compensation in end games and under similar circumstances. Shareholders are risk-prone and interested in corporate governance. Debtholders are risk-averse and interested in debt governance. Supervisors are risk-averse and interested in maintaining financial stability and in particular in preventing systemic crises.

…continue reading: Better Governance of Financial Institutions

A New Playbook Part 2 — Global Securities Enforcement Stepping Up

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Monday April 1, 2013 at 9:21 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Paul A. Ferrillo, counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP specializing in complex securities and business litigation, and is based on an article by Mr. Ferrillo, Robert F. Carangelo, and Hannah Field-Lowes. [1]

About a year ago, we published A New Playbook for Global Securities Litigation and Regulation, in which we detailed dramatic changes in the global securities regulatory and litigation arena driven by various factors, including not only the financial crisis of 2007-2008, but also changes in tolerance in the United States to litigation brought by foreign investors against public companies listed on non-U.S. exchanges.

One year later, the regulatory environment continues to revamp with new rules being issued constantly in the United States to conform to the legislative mandates set forth in the Dodd Frank Act. The United Kingdom and European Union also seek to reinforce previous global initiatives to reform and strengthen the Pan-European financial markets.

What is more ever-present, however, is the marked increase in global enforcement activities by regulators in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union, which are attempts to give teeth to the global financial reforms each jurisdiction felt necessary to potentially prevent a “repeat” of the financial crisis. This article seeks to address the increase in global securities enforcement activity and concludes that continued cooperation and coordination in enforcement activities will be required to seamlessly address the desire to strengthen global regulatory initiatives aimed at harmonizing and centralizing international securities regulation to create safer, more fundamentally sound financial markets for investors.

…continue reading: A New Playbook Part 2 — Global Securities Enforcement Stepping Up

Financial Services Act 2012: A New UK Financial Regulatory Framework

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Sunday March 24, 2013 at 9:04 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Jeffery Roberts, senior partner in the London office of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, and is based on a Gibson Dunn memorandum by Mr. Roberts and Edward A. Tran.

The Financial Services Act 2012 (the “Act”), which comes into force on 1 April 2013, contains the UK government’s reforms of the UK financial services regulatory structure and will create a new regulatory framework for the supervision and management of the UK’s banking and financial services industry. The Act gives the Bank of England macro-prudential responsibility for oversight of the financial system and day-to-day prudential supervision of financial services firms managing significant balance-sheet risk. Three new bodies will be formed under the Act: the Financial Policy Committee (“FPC”), the Prudential Regulatory Authority (“PRA”) and the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). While the Act mainly contains the core provisions for the UK government’s structural reforms and will therefore make extensive changes to Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”), as well as to the Bank of England Act 1998 and the Banking Act 2009, it also includes freestanding provisions in Part 3 (“mutual societies”), Part 4 (“collaboration between Treasury and Bank of England, FCA or PRA”), Part 5 (“inquiries and investigations”), Part 6 (“investigation of complaints against regulators”) and Part 7 (“offences relating to financial services”). With respect to the last of these, it should be noted that:

…continue reading: Financial Services Act 2012: A New UK Financial Regulatory Framework

CFTC’s Progress on Wall Street Reform

Posted by Gary Gensler, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, on Monday March 4, 2013 at 9:25 am
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Editor’s Note: Gary Gensler is chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This post is based on Chairman Gensler’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, available here.

The New Era of Swaps Market Reform

This hearing is occurring at an historic time in the markets. The CFTC now oversees the derivatives marketplace — across both futures and swaps. The marketplace is increasingly shifting to implementation of the common-sense rules of the road for the swaps market that Congress included in the Dodd-Frank Act.

For the first time, the public is benefiting from seeing the price and volume of each swap transaction. This post-trade transparency builds upon what has worked for decades in the futures and securities markets. The new swaps market information is available free of charge on a website, like a modern-day ticker tape.

For the first time, the public will benefit from the greater access to the markets and the risk reduction that comes with central clearing. Required clearing of interest rate and credit index swaps between financial entities begins next month.

For the first time, the public will benefit from specific oversight of swap dealers. As of today, 71 swap dealers are provisionally registered. They are subject to standards for sales practices, recordkeeping and business conduct to help lower risk to the economy and protect the public from fraud and manipulation. The full list of registered swap dealers is on the CFTC’s website, and we will update it as more entities register.

…continue reading: CFTC’s Progress on Wall Street Reform

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