With a straight face, President Trump has issued an executive order on June 20th that would expand Apprenticeship opportunities in the US in order to expand jobs. The CFTC has adopted some final rules on records administration and its whistleblower program. It has also introduced a new project to evaluate its system of rules to see where simplification is warranted. FinCEN is moving against a Chinese bank that helps North Korea.
Yesterday the Fed published a proposed guidance document for its expectations for board of directors of banks. The release only applies to the boards of banks with over $50 billion in consolidated assets, but the intent of the Fed is to ease up on directors at all banks. The proposal was issued after an extensive review of the activities of bank boards and reflects independent directors’ dissatisfaction with the burdens that the regulators have been placing on bank directors.
In the wild west of token sales, that some refer to as "initial token offerings," on July 25, the SEC finally jumped into the fray and said . . . well, actually, not that much. The SEC investigated Slock.it, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) organized under German law, and issued a Report of Investigation in which the SEC concluded that Slock.it violated U.S. federal securities laws in issuing its tokens because, in the view of the SEC, the Slock.it tokens are securities under U.S. securities laws and were sold without being registered with the SEC or pursuant to an effective exemption from registration.
Foreign Investment Funds
At the end of last week, the Fed and the other banking agencies issued an interpretation that applied to investments in certain foreign funds by foreign banking organizations that are subject to the Volcker rule. Such banks may control what is kno
wn as an excluded foreign fund until July 21, 2018, without having the investments made by such fund being subject to the Volcker rule. Under the Fed’s interpretation of the Volcker rule, certain investment funds sold exclusively outside the U.S. would be deemed subject to the Volcker rule if these funds were controlled by a foreign bank that was itself subject to the Volcker rule.
Topics: Volcker Rule
Just yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a version of a new banking bill (the “Choice Act”). The Choice Act makes scores of efforts to cut back on the regulatory regime created under Dodd-Frank Act. Many of the changes are of principal interest to domestic banks but the provisions dealing with regulatory relief will be of interest to foreign banks doing business in the U.S.
Donald Trump has made this newsletter obsolete. This covers two months and there are almost no new or even proposed rules. In fact, I am covering developments that in the past were deemed so picayune that I would have left them out. The CFPB has published 30 pages of corrections and elaborations to a rule that was “finalized” in 2015—will it ever end.
Donald Trump was not kidding when he said he was going to stem the tide of new regulations affecting American businesses. The effect in the banking area has been an astounding collapse in activity at the banking agencies. During the first four months of 2017 there has been a dramatic reduction in new and proposed regulations. A comparison to 2016 will highlight these differences across the 10 federal agencies that we follow in order to prepare the regulatory newsletter.
Up to this point, the regulators in charge of the Resolution Plan process have focused only on the mega banks and have left the second and third wave filers alone. However, today, the Fed published comment letters on 16 second wave (banks with between $100 and $250 billion in nonbank assets) resolution plans that were filed in 2015 and some of the comments may provide suggestions on the types of steps that third wave filers could consider in order to demonstrate proactive resolution planning.
Donald Trump may make this newsletter obsolete. Further to the Trump effect on regulations: before January 23—the first government business day after the Inauguration—there were 7631 pages of new and proposed regulations under the auspices of the Obama administration. In the next 30 days, under the Trump regime only 3666 pages of new proposed and final regulations made it into the Federal Register. This is almost a 75% reduction in Federal Register page count so something is afoot. Not a single new or proposed rule worth mentioning was published since February 8. I was concerned at one point that the regulatory output was so low that no February report could be prepared—luckily, Trump himself is responsible for 50% of this report.
A Donald Trump effect was apparent with the January 26th Federal Register-- it was one of the shortest Federal Register volumes seen in some time—even the pre-holiday Registers sport more pages. The CFPB published a rule requiring incentive programs for sales of consumer products be subject to extraordinary controls adapted to such sales campaigns. These would be in addition to and perhaps duplicative of the requirements of primary federal regulators.