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Riding the Regulatory Enforcement Train: FINRA Issues Reminder on Supervisory Liability for Chief Compliance Officers

On March 17, 2022, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 22-10 (“Notice”), which reminds FINRA member firms and their associated persons of the scope of supervisory liability for Chief Compliance Officers (“CCO”). The Notice discusses this liability in the context of FINRA Rule 3110, which among other things, requires FINRA member firms to establish and maintain a system (including written procedures) to supervise the activities of each associated person in a manner that is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws, regulations, and FINRA ...

Acting Comptroller Hsu Suggests a Potential Path Forward to Address Identified Gaps in the Regulatory Resolution Framework for Large Regional Banks

In the fourteen years since the 2008 financial crisis, significant actions have been taken by Federal banking agencies to make the largest financial institutions more resilient and less likely to fail and to require planning that would facilitate their orderly resolution, if necessary. These risk mitigation measures are tailored, however, with the most stringent requirements, and highest regulatory expectations, appropriately reserved for the eight U.S. banks designated as posing the greatest risk to financial stability (global systemically important banks, or GSIBs ...

SEC Announces Exam Priorities for 2022

On March 30, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Examinations released its exam priorities for fiscal year 2022 (the “2022 Priorities”). As in years past, these exam priorities naturally follow from SEC rulemakings, statements, risk alerts and other guidance issued in the past year, and reflect practices or topics that may pose higher risk for referral to the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

The 2022 Priorities include broader thematic “Significant Focus Areas,” which may be applicable to both broker-dealers and registered ...

SEC Announces Proposed Rule for Climate Risk and Greenhouse Gas Disclosures

On March 21, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) that will require registrants to make certain climate disclosures in their registration statements and periodic filings with the SEC. Chairman Gary Gensler stated that the goal of the Proposed Rule is to “provide investors with consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information for making their investment decisions, and it would provide consistent and clear reporting obligations for issuers.” The Proposed Rule would require three main ...

United States Imposes Sanctions Related to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Background

In February 2014, the Revolution of Dignity or Maidan revolution in Ukraine resulted in the ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. In the months that followed, Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine and supported separatist movements in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. President Obama signed three Executive Orders in March 2014 imposing sanctions and prohibiting certain transactions because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Multiple Executive Orders relating to Russia followed over a period of years.

On February 21, 2022, Russia ...

FINRA Closes Out 2021 with Further Guidance on Pandemic-Related Issues for Member Firms

After extensive retrospective review of FINRA Rule 4370, which covers member firm business continuity plan (“BCP”) requirements during times of business disruption (such as the COVID-19 Pandemic), FINRA issued its Retrospective Rule Review Report entitled “Business Continuity Planning and Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic.”[1]  In doing so, FINRA issued guidance and summarized stakeholder feedback on such topics as the inspection and registration of temporary/remote offices, Membership Application Program (“MAP”) compliance for those offices, and the ...

NEW SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS BOARD TO DEVELOP GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY DISCLOSURE STANDARDS

The global standardization of ESG and, more broadly, sustainability related disclosure requirements may arrive sooner than anyone could have expected. A recent Financial Times article entitled “New Body to Oversee Global Sustainability Disclosure Standards” (paywall) announces that, in response to investors increasing focus on sustainability and the growing need for clearer standardized company disclosures, the IFRS Foundation, the current administrators of the International Accounting Standards Board, are in the process of forming their newest brainchild: the ...

UPDATED: Term SOFR vs BSBY vs Ameribor in the Loan Market

This is an update to a previous post. This update highlights the formal endorsement of Term SOFR by the ARRC, expands the discussion to include Ameribor and dives more deeply into the issues associated with Term SOFR swaps resulting in a mismatch with any related hedge by the Lender.

The ARRC has endorsed (HERE) CME’s Term SOFR. One of the bigger pieces to this announcement and earlier related announcements (Scope of Use Cases), is that U.S. regulators will also permit Term SOFR Swaps, when one of the parties is an “end-user”. When looking only at the loan market, what new reference ...

No More Dealer-to-Dealer LIBOR Swaps in the OTC Market?

In a press release (HERE) on June 8th, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) published its first release in a series called the “SOFR First Transition Initiative” as a best practice. One goal for this sort of “best practice” is to impact the liquidity in LIBOR and SOFR swaps, thereby slowly (a) increasing the spread on LIBOR swaps and (b) tightening the spread on SOFR swaps. In other words, make LIBOR swaps more expensive and SOFR swaps less expensive. Even for non-dealers, this announcement is important as it is not only a major step in such non-dealers’ ...

Advisory: Canada Designates Proud Boys a Terrorist Entity

Canada has designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity, meaning that banks and other financial services providers will no longer be allowed to deal with or facilitate transactions concerning property controlled by the group. The restrictions will apply to U.S. financial institutions in their activities within Canada and will extend to cover the activities of Canadian institutions outside of Canada.

Fall 2020 Brings Increased Regulatory Focus on Financial Institution Detection of Human Trafficking

On October 15, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of Treasury (FinCEN) released its Supplemental Advisory on Identifying and Reporting Human Trafficking and Related Activity (Supplemental Advisory). The last time FinCEN provided guidance on identifying trafficking in anti-money laundering (AML) processes was in Guidance on Recognizing Activity that May be Associated with Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking – Financial Red Flags on September 11, 2014. The evolving tactics of human traffickers and behaviors of victims required ...

A Time of Testing – What Lawyers Can Do

A black swan has arrived – the Pandemic of 2020 and with it a bear market. As with previous black swan events, experts and leaders are in learning mode, with the facts and events evolving hourly. As my financial advisor told me, this event cannot be modeled. Nonetheless, there are lessons learned from past crises – we are facing not just a health crisis uprooting lives and businesses, but also we can expect significant economic impact. The event will have effects longer than initially predicted or imagined.

In such circumstances, what should be on in-house lawyers’ and leaders ...

Valecia McDowell and Ed O'Keefe to Serve as Panelists for 2020 SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar

Charlotte White Collar, Regulatory Defense and Investigations Member Valecia M. McDowell and Financial Regulatory Advice and Response Member Edward O'Keefe will both serve as speakers at the 2020 SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar.

Meeks and O’Keefe Article, “Pursuit of a Regulatory Practice Dream: The Story of 2 Powerhouse Bank GCs Uniting,” published by Corporate Counsel

Charlotte Financial Regulatory Advice and Response Members Barbara Meeks and Ed O'Keefe's article titled, "Pursuit of a Regulatory Practice Dream: The Story of 2 Powerhouse Bank GCs Uniting," was published by Corporate Counsel on July 26, 2019. In the article, Meeks and O'Keefe share their personal vision for a world-class bank regulatory practice that would provide practical, innovative results while retaining Southeastern rates and culture.

The Article

Historically, financial regulatory lawyers have rooted themselves in New York or Washington, D.C. to develop thriving ...

From “Where Were the Lawyers?” to “Where Have the Lawyers Gone?”

Colleagues, I hope you are enjoying your summer and have had or are planning a break. Summer breaks help us maintain a healthy balance of rest and work.  

Speaking of balance, over a recent beach vacation, I had time to study Tom Baxter’s article on the current role of lawyers in financial institutions: The Rise of Risk Management in Financial Institutions and a Potential Unintended Consequence – The Diminution of the Legal Function. Tom analyzes the effect of well-intended post Crisis regulatory governance changes on legal departments. Starting with the three lines of ...

Parting the Waters of Uncertainty for Private Flood Insurance

By Elena F. Mitchell, Barbara S. Meeks, and Neil T. Bloomfield*

A final interagency rule taking effect on July 1, 2019, provides federally regulated lending institutions with eagerly awaited guidance concerning private flood insurance for improved properties located in special flood hazard areas. Pursuant to the final rule, the OCC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, Farm Credit Administration and National Credit Union Administration seek to increase availability and use of private flood insurance coverage by instructing regulated lending institutions to accept certain private ...

New Federal Reserve Rating System; U.S. Sues UBS Over Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities; Traders Charged With Spoofing & More

As government authorities around the world create a constantly evolving regulatory environment, conduct overlapping investigations, and bring parallel proceedings, companies are facing perhaps the most challenging regulatory and criminal enforcement environment. Our goal is to serve as a leading-edge resource for companies navigating these waters. Moore & Van Allen’s WCIRA News Clips is a complement to our White Collar Defense, Investigations, and Regulatory Advice Blog’s in-depth individual treatment of critical emerging issues. WCIRA News Clips hits the ...

Mick Mulvaney’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

By Kristina Whittaker[1]. Mick Mulvaney was appointed Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) on November 25, 2017.  His term will end on June 22, 2018, unless the President nominates a Director prior to that date, in which case Mr. Mulvaney will remain as Acting Director until a new Director is confirmed.  During his time as Acting Director, Mr.  Mulvaney has sought to change the priorities and culture of the Bureau, starting by changing its name to align with Title X of the Dodd Frank Act to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.  His recent public ...

Comptroller Otting’s Priorities – Good News for Bankers and the Economy

In a series of interviews, speeches and other public releases, OCC Comptroller Joseph Otting has set out a number of priorities, some substantive, some related to how the agency operates.  It is clear that Mr. Otting intends to roll back or “modernize” regulations that have been viewed as burdensome or ineffective by the financial industry.  In addition, he intends to make changes to the agency in ways that pull back on the Washington-centric structure and puts more authority in the hands of local supervisors.   All of these are works in progress and some require action and/or ...

Moore & Van Allen welcomes former OCC Deputy Comptroller Kristina B. Whittaker to Financial Regulatory Advice and Response team

Moore & Van Allen PLLC is pleased to announce that Kristina (“Kris”) B. Whittaker, former Deputy Comptroller for Special Supervision in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), has joined the firm’s Charlotte office as Counsel. Whittaker will practice on Moore and Van Allen’s growing Financial Regulatory Advice and Response team. *

“Kris’ valuable experience and longstanding esteem within the OCC will greatly benefit our clients and increase our practice capabilities,” said Charlotte Member Edward P. O’Keefe. “Kris brings more ...

Anti-Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act Update

By Neil Bloomfield and Nathan White. After the Panama Papers exposed efforts by wealthy individuals and government officials to hide funds offshore, government authorities around the world have responded with new legislation, regulations and enforcement actions that are beginning to reshape the landscape for anti-money laundering (AML) and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations.  This post will be the first in a series of updates as the world begins to redefine these issues and what that means for companies that need to comply with the new standards. 

United States

In some areas, the ...

Recent Developments in Cybersecurity Enforcement

By Neil Bloomfield and Lindsey Frye.  This will be our first in a series of updates on the status of regulation and enforcement in the context of cybersecurity related issues.  Regulation and liability in the context of a cyber attack present complex questions.  The easy target is the individual or organization that committed that attack—the criminal hacker.  Unfortunately, the easy target is often beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, and even if they are not, they lack the resources to provide a meaningful recovery.  Secondary targets, which have become the focus of ...

About MVA White Collar Defense, Investigations, and Regulatory Advice Blog

As government authorities around the world conduct overlapping investigations and bring parallel proceedings in evolving regulatory environments, companies face challenging regulatory and criminal enforcement dynamics. We help keep our clients up to date in these fast-moving areas and to serve as a thought leader.

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