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Regulatory Predictions 2015

By Annette L. Nazareth and Gabriel D. Rosenberg
January 5, 2015, Financial Times

A year ago we offered our regulatory predictions for 2014. We correctly predicted a busy year of financial reform implementation, as well as intensified discussions of the relationships among international regulators. Many of these themes will continue this year.

1. Volcker implementation efforts dominate . . .

Banking entities spent much of 2014 interpreting the new Volcker rule regulations and planning for its impact. In the final quarter, they turned their attention to implementation ahead of the July 21 compliance deadline. Those efforts will dominate at major banking institutions, particularly with respect to the proprietary trading provisions for which no time extension has been granted.

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SEC Agenda 2015: Swaps, 'Pay ratio' and New Republican Oversight

By Patrick Temple-West
January 4, 2015, Financial Times

Liberal-leaning advocacy groups are revving up their lobbying of the the Securities and Exchange Commission, hoping to get the agency to finish its remaining rules from the 2010 financial reform law before the new Republican majority in Congress gets a chance to rewrite them.

Meanwhile, pro-business groups are drawing up a wish list of changes to the Dodd-Frank law they believe are too onerous. These groups also want Congress to draft legislation that would build on the SEC’s work for small businesses as a follow up to the 2012 JOBS Act.

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Fed Downplays Worries About Leveraged ETFs

By Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa
December 30, 2014, The Wall Street Journal

Concerns that leveraged exchange-traded funds could fuel undue market volatility are misplaced because they ignore the offsetting effects from capital flows on the need for the funds to adjust to the benchmarks they track, according to two Federal Reserve Board economists.

The Securities and Exchange Commission specifically cited worries about the use of derivatives products in mutual funds in a 2010 review.  It has since issued guidance for buy-and-hold investors warning of “extra risks” from the products.

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SEC, CFTC Would See Modest Funding Increases in Spending Plan

By Andrew Ackerman and Scott Patterson
December 10, 2014, The Wall Street Journal

The top two regulators charged with implementing and policing tough new rules for the financial industry would see modest funding increases under a $1.1 trillion spending plan House and Senate lawmakers unveiled late Tuesday.

Under the plan, which would fund the government through September, the Securities and Exchange Commission would see its funding levels rise $150 million to $1.5 billion. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would receive a $35 million boost to $250 million.

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CFTC Head Defends Agency from Idea of Merging

By Eric Garcia
November 12, 2014, MarketWatch

The recent news of banks trying to manipulate foreign-exchange markets has at least one regulator defending his role.

After news of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ordering five banks to pay more than $1.4 billion over foreign-exchange trading abuses, Chairman Timothy Massad defended the agency from proposals of merging with the Securities Exchange Commission because the two agencies had different purposes.

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SEC Set to Tackle Derivatives Regulations

By Mike Kentz
November 12, 2014, IFR

The SEC is finally set to move forward with finalising derivatives rules connected to Dodd-Frank, according to Chair Mary Jo White. White said at the SIFMA Annual Conference on Monday that the agency may consider trade reporting rules before year-end.

If the agency follows through, it would be its first implementation of a Dodd-Frank derivatives rule – four-and-a-half years after the law was finalised.

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CFTC Turns Toward Administrative Judges

By Jean Eaglesham
November 9, 2014, The Wall Street Journal

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission plans to start steering some of its cases against trading firms, brokers and others to administrative law judges appointed by federal agencies, instead of trials in federal court, according to a top official.

The move comes as defense lawyers criticize the escalating use of administrative law judges by regulators pursuing financial wrongdoing, saying it eliminates an independent jury from the process. Securities and Exchange Commission officials have said previously they intend to more often use administrative proceedings for insider-trading and other complicated cases.

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Dodd-Frank's Swaps "Push-out" Rule Upsets Smaller Banks

By Victoria McGrane
October 31, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

Regional banks are quietly joining the fight against one of the most hated Dodd-Frank provisions on Wall Street.

The target is the so-called swaps push-out provision, which requires banks to spin off certain derivatives trading activities into units that don’t enjoy access to the government safety net.

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Buy-Side Concerns: Liquidity, Transparency

Published October 20, 2014 Markets Media

Market structure issues are percolating to the surface, with potentially far-reaching impacts on dark pools, order routing disclosures, and market making.

Regarding dark pools, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has stated on numerous occasions that’s it’s considering a trade-at rule, similar to that which exists in Canada, that could in theory place dark pools at a competitive disadvantage to lit exchanges.

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EC 'Drops' CDS Probe

By Christopher Spink
Published October 18, 2014 IFR

Goldman Sachs believes part of the antitrust investigation by the European Commission into the credit default swaps market has been “suspended indefinitely”, according to its latest quarterly SEC filing.

The EC opened a two-part inquiry into the market in April 2011. One aspect tried to see if 16 banks and index provider Markit had collaborated to control a dominant position in CDS information.

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