Financial Regulation Roundup: September 21, 2018

Emma Townsend  Follow

Below are the top stories on the financial regulatory landscape in the U.S., EU and around the world over the past two weeks.

U.S. News:

  • SEC Commissioner Calls for Regulators to Bolster Market Oversight: A top securities regulator is calling for his agency to beef up its oversight of the nation’s stock exchanges to root out conflicts and curb rising fees that he says are harming investors. In a policy speech to be delivered Wednesday, Robert J. Jackson Jr., a Democratic commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission, will allege that the SEC has “stood on the sidelines” as the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq Inc. and other market operators have significantly boosted their profits while raising investors’ costs, according to a copy of his remarks. (The Wall Street Journal: read more)
  • Tesla Faces Justice Department Criminal Investigation Over Elon Musk’s Tweets: Federal prosecutors are investigating Tesla after CEO Elon Musk's short-lived campaign to take the company private. The U.S. Justice Department launched the probe after Musk stunned investors in August by tweeting he had "funding secured" to turn the electric-vehicle maker into a private company. Tesla confirmed that last month it "received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it." (USA Today: read more)
  • N.Y. State Refiles Suit to Block OCC’s ‘Reckless’ Fintech Charter: New York state's financial regulator is reviving litigation against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in an attempt to block the agency from offering a first-ever national bank charter for fintech firms. Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, filed a lawsuit Friday arguing that a special-purpose charter, which the OCC recently said it would consider for fintech applicants, goes beyond the federal agency's statutory authority. The OCC charter is “lawless, ill-conceived, and destabilizing of the financial markets,” the lawsuit says. (American Banker: read more)
  • Get Ready for Big Bitcoin: Cryptocurrency Industry Opens a D.C. Lobbying Arm: The price of bitcoin may be down, compared with last year's meteoric heights. But industry officials aren't waiting for the next spike in investor demand to launch a charm offensive targeting federal lawmakers and regulators who've taken an interest in cryptocurrencies. Tech veterans and a number of high-profile cryptocurrency companies on Tuesday said they are forming the Blockchain Association, the first fully fledged lobbying group in Washington representing entrepreneurs and investors who are building off the technology behind bitcoin. Joining the initial push are companies such as Coinbase and Circle, which operate some of the world's most popular virtual currency exchanges, as well as the technology start-up Protocol Labs. Investors, such as Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital, are also among the founding members. (Washington Post: read more)

EU News:

  • EU Leaders Reject May’s Chequers Plan: On Thursday, EU leaders announced that they did not believe that the Chequers plan for Brexit put forward by UK Prime Minister Theresa May was workable. EU council president Tusk declared that Chequers “would not work” while French president Macron said it was “not acceptable”. Despite this latest setback in the negotiations the UK government is still optimistic that the Chequers agreement can be delivered and that it is the only solution for the Irish border. Chequers proposes that the UK shares a common rulebook for goods and services after Brexit in an attempt to prevent a return of customs checks for goods crossing the Irish border. The negotiations continue…(BBC: read more)
  • ‘Wild West’ Crypto Markets Needs UK Regulation: On Wednesday, the UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee said in a report that Britain’s cryptocurrency market resembles the ‘Wild West’ and needs stringent regulation to both protect consumers and prevent illicit uses such as money laundering. The Committee criticized the government’s current approach as ‘vague and unsustainable’, despite warnings from the FCA that the cryptocurrency market without comprehensive regulation is ripe for fraud. (Reuters: read more)
  • FCA Closes Investigation into Life Insurers: The FCA has closed its investigation into four closed book life insurance companies (Abbey Life, Old Mutual, Prudential and Countrywide) without action. The thematic review, which started in March 2016, originally covered 11 firms and identified a lack of fee transparency. As a consequence, firms who were considered to be failing to meet regulator’s standards were further investigated, on Wednesday it was announced that the investigations had concluded with no grounds for further action or enforcement by the regulator. In a statement, the regulator said: "In each firm, some issues have been identified during the investigations, which are being addressed as part of our ongoing supervision of those firms." (FT Adviser: read more)

International News:

  • China to Penalize $60 Billion of U.S. Imports in Tit-For-Tat Move: China and the United States plunged deeper into a trade war on Tuesday after Beijing added $60 billion of U.S. products to its import tariff list in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s planned levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The tit-for-tat measures are the latest escalation in an increasingly protracted trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. On Monday, the U.S. administration said it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 percent on about $200 billion of Chinese products on Sept. 24, with the tariffs to go up to 25 percent by the end of 2018. (Reuters: read more)
  • Australia's New Treasurer to Get Tough on Financial Regulator: Australia's new federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, criticized the conduct of the corporate regulator and promised it powers to speed up compensation for mistreated customers. In a round of interviews with newspapers published on Saturday, Frydenberg said he would demand answers from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), over mounting troubles in the financial services sector. "I'm appalled by the behavior that has been exposed through the banking royal commission," Frydenberg told Guardian Australian. (Reuters: read more)
  • ANZ Bank Sued by Regulator Over Share Sale, Joining Cartel Case: Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is being sued by the securities regulator over a controversial 2015 share sale which is already the subject of criminal-cartel charges. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission alleges the lender breached continuous disclosure responsibilities by not informing the market that the joint lead managers of the sale took up approximately 25.5 million shares in the placement, the bank said in a statement Friday. The A$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) placement of 80.8 million shares is already the subject of separate criminal proceedings relating to how the investment banks disposed of the shares they were left with. Australian prosecutors allege the former local heads of Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, among others, engaged in criminal cartel behavior. All deny the charges. (Bloomberg: read more

Popular Blog Posts

By Views  -  By Popularity

Blog Archive