The financial crisis that began in 2007 prompted a tidal wave of thinking about financial regulation. One major theme that has been pursued by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, journalists, and scholars—most recently in Other People’s Houses, by Jennifer Taub—is the question of what went wrong in the years or decades leading up the crisis. A second strand of research answers the question of what substantive regulations we should have; one important book in this genre is The Banker’s New Clothes, by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig. But beyond the issue of what regulations are appropriate for today’s complex financial system, a third important area of inquiry is the political and administrative landscape in which financial regulations (whether statutes, rules, administrative guidances, or court opinions) are hammered out. After all, if it were somehow possible to design a perfect regulatory framework, it could only become effective by navigating through the complicated web of interests and incentives that encompasses the legislative and executive (and perhaps judicial) branches.
Posts Tagged ‘Regulators’
The financial industry is heavily regulated. Whether it is in terms of spending or number of employees, financial regulation represents more than a third of all business- and industry-related regulation in the United States (De Rugy and Warren, 2009), even though the financial sector only contributes to 10% of the country’s GDP. However, many commentators express grave doubts about the current efficacy of financial regulation. For example, The Economist published a 2010 article entitled “Finance’s other bosses” in which it asked: “Does it really matter who is in charge of the regulators? The grunt work of supervision depends on more junior staff, who will always struggle to keep tabs on smarter, better-paid types in the firms they regulate.”
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.
Business Roundtable CEOs, who lead major U.S. companies representing every sector of the economy, understand that well-conceived, science-based regulations are essential to protect human health and safety. Regulations can help ensure that businesses retain the capacity to innovate and simultaneously promote the health and welfare of our employees, customers and communities. But overlapping, conflicting and poorly executed regulations can—and do—impose substantial costs on the U.S. economy, sometimes with only theoretical benefits.
That is why we have embraced a concept we call smart regulation that seeks to realize the goals of regulation without harming economic growth and job creation. About 18 months ago, we released a plan, Achieving Smarter Regulation, which laid out a roadmap for reform, including changes to current law and actions the Administration could take on its own, to streamline the federal regulatory process, reduce the economic burden of regulation and protect the public interest.
Over recent decades, corporate governance has become an increasingly high profile aspect of legal scholarship and practice. But despite this widespread interest, there remains considerable uncertainty about how exactly corporate governance should be defined or understood. Of particular concern is whether corporate governance is most appropriately understood as an aspect of ‘private’ (facilitative) law, or else as a part of ‘public’ (regulatory) law. In my recent book, Corporate Governance in the Shadow of the State (2013, Hart Publishing), I demonstrate that this question is not just an academic one in the pejorative sense. On the contrary, it is arguably the most important issue confronting those who study or teach the subject of corporate governance in any level of depth or analytical rigour.
A recent FINRA disciplinary action sends a strong message to broker-dealers that the development of their compliance systems—particularly with respect to email review and retention—must keep pace with the growth of their businesses.
FINRA fined LPL Financial LLC (LPL) $7.5 million for significant failures in its email system that prevented LPL from accessing hundreds of millions of emails, and from reviewing tens of millions of other emails over an approximately six-year period. FINRA stressed that LPL’s inadequate systems and procedures caused the firm to provide incomplete responses to email requests from regulators, and also likely affected the firm’s production of emails in arbitrations and private actions. Accordingly, FINRA also required the firm to establish a $1.5 million fund to pay discovery sanctions to customer claimants that were potentially affected by the system failures, and to notify regulators that may have received incomplete email production.
I’d like to describe the Commission’s recent set of proposals on the cross-border regulation of derivatives. First, though, I’ll describe the state of play among international regulators, both in developing their derivatives regimes and in grappling with the thorny cross-border aspects of derivatives trading.
Status of International Regulatory Efforts
Countries are at various stages of implementing their derivatives regimes in response to the G20 commitments.
The U.S. is further along in this effort. The SEC has now proposed substantially all of the rules required by Title VII, and we have adopted the foundational definitional rules and those governing swap clearing agencies standards, among others. The CFTC is further along in the adoption mode and is on track to complete the adoption of their rules later this year.
Other jurisdictions are further behind, which means that it is difficult to assess at this point how similar their requirements may be to those that the U.S. is implementing.
Since the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) began operations in late 2011, the agency appears to have lived up to its billing as an activist regulator of insurers and financial institutions. DFS has taken on several novel issues and will likely continue to do so. Insurers and financial institutions doing business in New York should keep DFS on their radar given the scope of its regulatory mandate and its initial enforcement activities since inception. Institutions outside New York may also want to monitor DFS’s initiatives, which may pique the interest of federal or state law enforcement and regulatory agencies in other jurisdictions and lead to similar or parallel initiatives.
DFS’s Actions Since Inception
On October 3, 2011, the former New York State Banking and Insurance Departments were combined to create DFS. The 4,400 entities DFS supervises have about $6.2 trillion in assets and include all insurance companies in New York, all depository institutions chartered in New York, the majority of United States-based branches and agencies of foreign banking institutions, mortgage brokers in New York, and other financial service providers.
Is there a competition for corporate charters in Europe? Corporate and comparative scholars have been discussing the similarities between the Delaware-led competition in the United States with the slowly emerging market for corporate legal forms in the European Union.
In my recent paper, Corporate Mobility in the European Union – a Flash in the Pan? An empirical study on the success of lawmaking and regulatory competition, recently made available on SSRN, I provide new empirical evidence on the development of the market for incorporations in Europe, and on the impact of national law reforms.
Since the seminal Centros case in 1999, European entrepreneurs have been allowed to select foreign legal forms to govern their affairs. While much academic effort has been spent to evaluate the early market reactions to this case-law, effectively opening up the European market, relatively little attention has been devoted to subsequent developments. This is surprising, since the various national lawmakers’ responses to the wave of entrepreneurial migration offer a rare glimpse on the effects of regulatory competition and subsequent business’ reaction, as well as on the relevance and effects of lawmaking and regulatory responses to market pressure.
This blog has repeatedly reported on the use of empty voting strategies at the Canadian telecommunications provider Telus Corporation. (see, e.g., here and here). Empty voting – that is, the strategic separation of economic risk from voting rights – has been considered by courts, regulators and academics over the past years in various forms. The latest account is the case of Canadian telecommunications company Telus, which became the target of US hedge fund Mason Capital. After a lengthy battle in various courtrooms, the dust has settled around this conflict. The Telus saga sheds new light on how empty voting structures are used by businesses in practice and supports calls for regulatory activity. In my recent paper, Empty Voting Revisited: The Telus Saga, I analyze the various instances of this important legal battle and develop regulatory implications.