Friday 6th March 2015
NEWS TICKER, FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH 2015: —BNY Mellon has been appointed by Accor, the hotel operator based in France, as depositary bank for its sponsored American depositary receipt (ADR) program. Accor previously traded in the US as an unsponsored DR. Each sponsored ADR represents one-fifth of an ordinary share and trades on the OTC Markets under the symbol ‘ACCYY.’ Accor’s ordinary shares trade on Euronext Paris under the code ‘AC’— The US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) says the FATCA IDES User Guide has been updated for March 2015 and includes user enhancements and additional instructions. Copies can be downloaded from the IRS websiteimage003.pngThe Federal Reserve Bank of New York has reported gross purchases from February 26th through March 4th of $4,737m worth of agency MBS transactionsimage003.png More than 100 members of European Parliament (MEPs) have signed an open letter to the European Union’s Telecoms Council, urging it to adopt a more relaxed stance towards roaming charges. The Council is looking to extend the “phasing out” of charges until mid-2018, more than two and a half years later than initially laid out in the Roaming III regulation established in 2012. Roaming III, one of Neelie Kroes’ flagship motions in the move towards a single digital market, had previously required the abolishment of all roaming fees by the end of this year. “The Council stance sets up a new pricing mechanism, which will make it much cheaper to use your mobile phone when travelling abroad in the EU,” it said. “Within certain limits to be determined, consumers could make and receive calls, send SMSs and use data services without paying anything extra on top of the domestic fee.” It also suggests limitations under which operators will be able to levy charges against roamers. “Without a strong Telecoms Single Market, the much needed Digital Single Market cannot flourish,” they said, in an open letter to the Council of the European Union. “The European Parliament urged an end to roaming charges by the end of this year (2015). We consider proposed delays by three years (2018), or a suggestion to allow for 5MB without charges per day, to lack ambition. Such outcomes will undoubtedly seriously disappoint citizens. The gap between ending roaming charges, and 5MB per day is immeasurably large.” The open letter to the Telecoms Council concluded with a plea to put an end to roaming charges and clearly define net neutrality, stressing its significance for the future of Europe’s digital economies—Danish dedicated wind company Vestas has placed a seven year €500m eurobond with an interest rate of 2.75%, which the firm says will broaden the firm’s funding structure. The bonds, which will be listed in Luxembourg, will be repaid on March 11th 2022. According to Vestas CFO Marika Fredriksson, this is the first time a "green bond" had been issued by a dedicated wind company—An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Clive Bellows, Country Head Ireland at Northern Trust say the bank will expand its operations in Limerick by creating up to 300 new jobs over the next three years. The expansion is supported by the Department of Jobs through IDA Ireland —Despite reduced market volatility in February, total traded volume on the Tradeweb European-listed ETF platform amounted to €7.7bn in the month. This was the platform’s third best performance since launch, only beaten by last October’s €7.9bn and January’s record-breaking €10.7bn volume. According to the firm, there was a clear buying trend across all asset classes on the platform, with “buys” outstripping “sells” by 26 percentage points as a proportion of the overall traded volume. “Buy” requests for equity-based ETFs climbed to 42%, while “sell” requests fell 8 percentage points to 31 per cent compared to the past 12 months. Three of February’s ten most heavily traded ETFs invest in fixed income, offering exposure to government debt and USD-denominated high yield bonds—Global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc says Mark Hunt has joined as senior managing director in the firm’s Forensic & Litigation Consulting practice. Mark will be based in London. As a Senior Forensic Partner with over thirty years’ experience, Mark specialises in financial and regulatory investigations, audit and accounting negligence, expert determinations and accounting disputes. His work has included a number of complex international disputes for both claimants and defendants, as well as acting as an expert on issues relating to complex financial instruments. Mark joins FTI Consulting from BDO, where he led their Financial Services practice, which included conducting FCA/PRA Skilled Persons Reviews. Prior to joining BDO in 2007, Mark was a Partner at KPMG, and he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. In his new role, Mark will join the EMEA Financial Advisory Services leadership group, working with Jeannette Lichner, Stephen Kingsley, Andrew Durant and Nick Hourigan to continue building FTI Consulting’s practice— The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +22.24 points higher or +0.66% to 3417.51, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.56%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.21% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.38%. The top active stocks were SingTel (+1.70%), DBS (+0.98%), Noble (+4.98%), Keppel Land (-0.22%) and Genting Singapore (-2.63). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index (+1.52%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index are SingTel (+1.70%) and StarHub (unchanged). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Health Care Index, which declined -0.55% with Raffles Medical Group’s share price declining -0.51% and Biosensors International Group’s share price declining -0.77%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the STI ETF (+0.59%), iShares USD Asia HY Bond ETF (-0.85%), SPDR Gold Shares (-0.42%). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were CapitaMall Trust (-0.94%), Ascendas REIT (-0.40%), CapitaCom Trust (+0.28%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI25000MBeCW150429 (-4.12%), HSI24200MBePW150429 (+0.60%), HSI24400MBeCW150429 (-2.99%). The most active stock warrants by value today were DBS MB eCW150420 (+8.65%), OCBC Bk MBeCW150803 (unchanged), UOB MB eCW150701 (+2.10%).

Blog

Regulatory Update

Protect Your Firm... And Your Personal Assets!

Monday, 30 July 2012 Written by 
Protect Your Firm... And Your Personal Assets! Hoping for a respite from regulatory change?  Think again.  Gathering forces may create a regulatory storm that is even more difficult than the one faced in the 2007-2009 financial crisis.  In this tempest, both the regulated and the regulators will have bull’s-eyes on their backs.  Regulators are likely to become more conservative in their analysis and more active.  It is therefore imperative to assess your firm now and prepare yourself to withstand regulatory inquiries.  You can also expect more scrutiny from investors who will seek to allocate funds only to those firms that they believe are fully complying with applicable laws and regulations. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Hoping for a respite from regulatory change?  Think again.  Gathering forces may create a regulatory storm that is even more difficult than the one faced in the 2007-2009 financial crisis.  In this tempest, both the regulated and the regulators will have bull’s-eyes on their backs.  Regulators are likely to become more conservative in their analysis and more active.  It is therefore imperative to assess your firm now and prepare yourself to withstand regulatory inquiries.  You can also expect more scrutiny from investors who will seek to allocate funds only to those firms that they believe are fully complying with applicable laws and regulations.

What fuels this gathering storm?  Outright major misappropriations by the likes of Madoff and Peregrine's Wasendorf are part of the equation.  In addition, events such as the LIBOR-fixing scandal at Barclays, J.P. Morgan’s “London Whale” trading losses, and MF Global’s failure to segregate customer funds serve as cautionary examples.

These stories highlight that a firm’s assets, reputation, and in some cases, even the firm’s fundamental viability are at stake when things go awry.  As if that weren’t bad enough, senior executives face additional consequences.  In these and other similar incidents, personal assets can be at stake even when others are the primary wrongdoers.  



Think you are immune from these risks?  Think again.  Labaton Sucharow LLP, a plaintiff's law firm, recently published a unsettling study indicating that one in four financial industry professionals in the U.S. and U.K. believe wrongdoing is necessary for success.  If this study is credible, the message it sends to the general public is highly negative.  It speaks to senior management of alternative investment firms loud and clear: sometimes the best-intentioned executive may have an employee who hears an "unintended message" and veers off course.  Intended or not, the executive may ultimately bear responsibility. 

The first line of defense for an investment advisory firm and its executives is to build a culture in which the firm’s standards clearly and consistently meet all applicable regulatory and ethical expectations.  It is particularly important for firm leaders to reaffirm these standards and expectations during times of economic and operational stress, when legal and internal requirements may appear to conflict with business drivers (such as maximizing short-term results).  Employees must internalize that senior management will take the ethical route in order to maximize the long-term value of the firm—and expects them to do the same.

The second line of defense, at least in the U.S., is to develop a governance structure that satisfies the requirements specified in the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual.  This manual offers incentives to companies that adopt a comprehensive compliance and ethics program (and take certain actions upon the occurrence of alleged missteps).  A program that satisfies these requirements will contain elements in addition to those required by the SEC and CFTC.  Complying with the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual can be an invaluable safeguard that reduces the likelihood of an executive or his firm being charged with criminal violations.

The third line of defense is to undertake an honest self-assessment, and to consider the types of pressures that senior management and employees will encounter should the weakened state of the global economy continue.  Topics in the regulatory spotlight should be included in this assessment.  The intent here is to prepare for the possible pressures employees and senior management might face, thereby reducing the chance that hasty decisions are made in the heat of the moment. Ill-considered actions can carry serious penalties and act as a lightning rod for litigation by regulators, investors, and other third parties (such as credit providers).  Advance preparation will help your staff make faster and better decisions if the need should arise. 

You can't always remove that bull’s-eye on your back, but you can at least make the target less bright.

Deborah Prutzman

Deborah Prutzman is the founder and CEO of The Regulatory Fundamentals Group (RFG), a New York-based firm that designs and implements business and risk solutions for alternative asset managers and institutional investors. RFG's senior-led team employs a robust suite of tools, including practical alerts on new and potential industry developments and its powerful RFG Pathfinder® knowledge management platform which simplifies the challenges of operating in a regulated environment.  To learn more about The Regulatory Fundamentals Group call (212) 537-4058, email a representative at Information@RegFG.com or visit RegFG.com

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