On March 26, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“Basel Committee”) published a Consultative Document in which it proposes a revised supervisory framework for measuring and controlling large counterparty exposures (“Proposal,” or “Exposure Framework”) of systemically important financial institutions (“SIFIs”). Comments on the Proposal are due by June 28, 2013.
Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Jennings-Mares’
On January 21, 2013, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), of which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. is an affiliate member, published its final report on Suitability Requirements With Respect to the Distribution of Complex Financial Products. The report can be found at https://www.iosco.org/library/pubdocs/pdf/IOSCOPD400.pdf.
The report sets forth nine principles relating to the distribution of complex products by “intermediaries” (defined below), and, for each of the principles, “means of implementation,” which include suggested regulatory changes and detailed guidance for intermediaries. The purpose of the principles is to “promote robust customer protection in connection with the distribution of complex financial products by intermediaries,” including providing guidance on how the applicable suitability requirements should be implemented. The principles are intended to address concerns raised by regulatory authorities and others about sales of structured products, particularly to retail investors. The focus is on not only the point of sale but also on the intermediary’s internal procedures related to suitability determinations.
Many of the themes raised in the report have also been discussed by U.S. regulatory authorities in the past year, including suitability and sales practices. The report suggests that regulators should have the power to impose outright bans on sales of some complex financial products in certain situations. Of course, each jurisdiction has a different legal and regulatory regime and, as a result, the report contains certain general statements that would not be uniformly applicable.
For the last four years, regulators and law makers have been focusing extraordinary efforts on ensuring that financial regulation is adequate to protect the financial system from risks emanating from the banking sector. However, it is only more recently that policy makers have turned their attention towards possible systemic risk related to entities which carry out similar functions to the banking sector or to which the banking sector is otherwise exposed. Such entities have, for convenience, been grouped under the heading of “shadow banks”, although no precise definition or description of shadow banking has yet been agreed upon by policy makers.
At their November 2010 Seoul Summit, the leaders of the G20 nations requested that the Financial Stability Board (FSB) develop recommendations to strengthen the oversight and regulation of the shadow banking system in collaboration with other international standard setting bodies, and in response to such request, the FSB formed a task force with the following objectives:
On December 10, 2012, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and the Bank of England released a white paper, Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions,  describing how each would resolve a materially distressed or failing financial institution that is globally active and systemically important (“G-SIFI”) in order to maintain the G-SIFI’s ongoing and viable operations, and contain any threats to financial stability. The paper reflects the work of U.S. and UK authorities  in developing resolution strategies for the failure of G-SIFIs in accordance with standards developed by the Financial Stability Board,  but does not go into detail on the strategic options that may be available.
The white paper warrants the close attention of G-SIFIs and their stakeholders, particularly their unsecured debtholders. The paper memorializes the consensus view of the FDIC and the Bank of England that a top-down or single-point-of-entry approach is the preferred (although not the sole) method of resolving a G-SIFI.  This approach could transform certain unsecured debt into equity or convertible debt and should cause G-SIFIs to review their organizational structure. Also of interest are the FDIC’s and Bank of England’s perspectives on the critical powers and preconditions for a successful resolution and what legislative or regulatory changes may be necessary.
After the publication of fifteen revised drafts of the long-awaited Regulation of the European Parliament and Council on OTC Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories (commonly known as “EMIR”), you would be forgiven for thinking that the Europeans were never likely to see a conclusion to legislative attempts to regulate their over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives market. However, on 9 February 2012, a trialogue meeting of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission at long last reached agreement on the final text of EMIR , and since we last provided an update on OTC derivatives reform in the EU , the wheels of the legislative process have turned extensively, even if slowly.
Although the publication of the legislation finally puts in place the broad regulatory framework to govern the OTC derivatives market and establishes common rules for central counterparties and trade repositories, much of the real detail has yet to be drafted. The European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) now has responsibility for putting the flesh on the bones, in the form of drafting scores of technical standards to implement the EMIR provisions.
It has probably not escaped the attention of the reader that European banks, and their ability to meet their continuing funding needs, have been some of the principal victims of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of the Eurozone, due to their exposures to Eurozone sovereign debt. As part of its general efforts to increase market confidence in European banks, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a Recommendation  on 8 December 2011 as to the creation and maintenance of temporary capital buffers by European banks.
The EBA recommends that European banks should have created, by 30 June 2012, a temporary capital buffer by attaining a Core Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 9 percent.
The Core Tier 1 capital ratio is to be calculated by comparing a bank’s Core Tier 1 capital to its risk-weighted assets. “Core Tier 1 capital” is defined to include ordinary shares or similar instruments, but also newly-issued contingent convertible instruments if their terms comply with a new common term sheet for such instruments (“Buffer Convertible Capital Securities” or “BCCS”) set out by the EBA in Annex III to the Recommendation. This represents the first time that a European banking authority has laid down in such detail the core terms that such an instrument should possess in order to count as Tier 1 capital. Existing convertible capital instruments of European banks will not be counted towards the 9 percent ratio, unless they convert into Core Tier 1 capital by the end of October 2012.
On 11 October 2011, the Financial Stability Board (the “FSB”) published its second progress report (the “Report”)  and accompanying press release  on the implementation of reforms to the over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives market. This follows its initial progress report published on April 15, 2011,  in which it expressed concern regarding many jurisdictions’ likelihood of meeting the end of 2012 deadline set by the G-20 and warned that to achieve this target, jurisdictions needed to take “substantial, concrete steps” toward implementation urgently. The Report, which comes out merely one year before the end of 2012 deadline, contains a more detailed review of progress towards meeting the commitments reached at the G-20 Pittsburgh summit in September 2009, to be enforced by end of 2012, including:
- all standardised OTC derivative contracts will be traded on exchanges or electronic trading platforms and cleared through central counterparties, where appropriate;
- OTC derivative contracts will be reported to trade repositories (“TRs”); and
- non-centrally-cleared contracts will be subject to higher capital requirements.