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U.S. House Approves Legislation Easing Dodd-Frank Provisions

By Cheyenne Hopkins
January 14, 2015, Bloomberg Businessweek

House Republicans made one of their first attempts in the new Congress to roll back Dodd-Frank constraints on Wall Street, in what’s poised to become a recurring battle with Democrats who oppose changing the law.

Today’s 271-154 vote on legislation that would delay aspects of the Volcker Rule restriction on banks making risky investments followed a failed effort to advance the bill last week. The measure faces an uncertain path in the Senate and President Barack Obama has indicated he would veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

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The Real Reason for Washington's Derivatives Gift to Banks

By Nicole Gelinas
December 24, 2014, Los Angeles Times

As we embark on the seventh year since the historic collapse of the Lehman Bros. investment bank, it's clear we haven't fixed what broke the economy in 2008. Big banks still control Congress. Workers remain acutely vulnerable to another financial crisis. But we can't blame only Wall Street for gaming the system. Wall Street does what America wants it to — lend American families money they can't afford to pay back. Fixing Wall Street is easy. But then we would have to fix the problems that Wall Street's machinations mask. And that's hard.

This month, the lame-duck Congress gave Big Finance an early holiday gift. For four years, large financial firms have tried to eliminate part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. In signing the law in 2010, President Obama outlawed banks' practice of taking money from regular folks' bank accounts and using it to speculate on risky financial derivatives — financial instruments that allow their holders to vastly magnify their bets in bonds, oil and other markets, making those bets more dangerous.

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Swap Data Deadlock Could Be Fixed in Months, DTCC Hopes

By Tom Osborn
Published August 6, 2014 Risk

A clause in the Dodd-Frank Act that is preventing foreign regulators from accessing information held by US swap data repositories (SDRs) could be struck out in a matter of months, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) hopes. A bill that would do the job is waiting for consideration by the Senate once the upper house of the US Congress returns from its summer recess.

The problem clause, contained in Title VII of the act, requires foreign regulators to indemnify US SDRs against legal risk before regulators can be allowed to access their data. Though the clause was envisaged as a means of protecting SDRs from costly lawsuits if data was leaked or misused, no foreign regulator has been willing to face those liabilities, with the result that they cannot directly access data held in US SDRs more than a year after swap reporting rules took effect in the US.

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CFTC Says Flexibility Vital to Oversee Cross-Border Swaps

By Andrew Zajac and Silla Brush
Published July 31, 2014 Bloomberg

U.S. regulators need flexibility in overseeing cross-border swaps, a lawyer for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission told a federal judge as he defended the agency’s reliance on guidance rather than formal rules in a lawsuit brought by Wall Street’s largest lobbying groups.

Congress directed the CFTC to regulate overseas trading of swaps to prevent a catastrophic market failure like the one involving American International Group Inc. (AIG) in 2008, Robert Schwartz, a lawyer for the agency, said at a hearing in federal court in Washington.

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U.S. House Passes Spending Bill with Dodd-Frank Changes

By Emily Stephenson
Published July 16, 2014 Reuters

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to slash funding for Wall Street oversight and revamp new agencies dedicated to cracking down on fraud against consumers and policing risks after the financial crisis.

The $21.3 billion funding bill, which covers appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year beginning Oct 1 for financial services and other areas of government, passed the House in a 228 to 195 vote along largely partisan lines.

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Lew Challenged Over Volcker Rule Impact

By Gina Chon, Tracy Alloway and Michael Mackenzie
Published July 10, 2014 Financial Times

The influential head of the House Financial Services Committee has called on US Treasury secretary Jack Lew to investigate whether sweeping financial reform has impaired the $10tn market for US corporate debt and risks amplifying an interest rate shock for large companies.

In a letter sent this week to Mr Lew, Congressman Jeb Hensarling argued that it was the responsibility of regulators to ensure that the Volcker rule, a core element of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms that bans banks from proprietary trading, does not harm US capital markets.

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New CFTC, But Same Old Rules

By Rob Daly
Published July 4, 2014 The Trade

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is back up to full strength with a new chairman and two commissioners sworn into office in June and was met quickly with a US House of Representatives’ version of the CFTC reauthorisation bill that promises major changes in day-to-day operations if passed into law.

One key component of the Consumer Protection and End User Relief Act, would require the regulator to implement quantitative and qualitative analysis of a proposed rule, or issue, prior to putting it forth.

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Senate, House Unveil Dueling Budget Plans for SEC, CFTC

By Sarah N. Lynch
Published June 24, 2014 Reuters

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have released dueling fiscal 2015 budget proposals for the country's top two financial market regulators, with Democrats seeking more funding and Republicans urging more belt-tightening and limits on how money is spent.

The two opposing spending bills mark the latest partisan dispute over how much money to allocate for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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US Commodities Regulator Wrestles Hedgers and Speculators

By Gregory Meyer
Published June 20, 2014 Financial Times

A meeting on commodities regulation held in Washington this week at times felt like an argument among lexicographers.

The words “hedger” and “speculator” have long had agreed definitions in commodities markets, so much so that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission publishes them in its online glossary.

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House Dem: CFTC Bill Would Be 'Sowing the Seeds of Future Disaster'

By Cristina Marcos
Published June 19, 2014 The Hill

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) argued Thursday that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) measure on the floor this week would lead to another economic crisis.

The bill, H.R. 4413, would reauthorize the agency through 2018 and includes other provisions to reform its regulatory process.

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