Thursday 28th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: THURSDAY, MAY 28TH: A deal struck by MEPs and Council of Ministers negotiators in the small hours of Thursday morning means the architecture of the Juncker plan to unlock €315bn public and private investments in the real economy in 2015-2017 can now be put to a European Parliament vote on June 24th and the investment programme can kick off in the summer. Parliament’s negotiators scaled back cuts in the EU’s “Horizon2020” research and innovation programme and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF – to link up Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks). They also ensured that the plan creates a stable financing mechanism to bridge the investment gap in Europe, by clarifying the investment guarantee fund’s governance structure and making it more accountable to representatives of EU citizens – Jamyra Gallmon, accused of stabbing DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt to death in a robbery gone wrong, pleaded guilty to murder today in Washington, DC court, after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors - – European banking and financial market associations have been rushing to comment on Tuesday night’s vote in the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), which was rejected by 30 votes to 29, claiming they remain deeply concerned over the EU Banking Structural Reform proposal (BSR) that seeks to break up the largest European banks. The outcome of the ECON vote shows that there is no consensus on what is right for big universal banks in Europe. Policy makers suggest that the BSR proposal could lead to a loss in European investment capacity equal to 5%, representing a decline of almost €100bn in capital expenditure on the long term; however there does not seem to be any consolidated document that might form the basis of consistent debate as a European Parliament spokesperson confirms that the original proposal has had so many amendments that it scarcely reflects the original thinking behind the document. Given that the vote is defeated, the EP will not consider re-opening the debate until June 11th this year, when the Parliament will decide on the requirements for either further amendments or complete redrafting, or even abandonment of the proposal - )-- Murex, the leading provider of integrated trading, risk management and processing solutions, says UniCredit, which has the largest presence of banks in Central and Eastern Europe, has gone live on Murex' MX.3 for UniCredit Bank Austria and eight other Central Eastern Europe banks - The interim financial report of Gefinor S.A. (ISIN LU 0010016714) for the period ended March 31st is available on the company website at www.gefinor.com from May 28th (today) - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that the next meeting of its Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies will focus on public company disclosure effectiveness, intrastate crowdfunding, venture exchanges, and treatment of finders.“The agenda reflects the important scope of the advisory committee’s mandate,” says SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Topics I am particularly interested in are the advisory committee’s views on disclosure effectiveness and initiatives that will inform our capital formation efforts.” At its upcoming meeting on June 3rd, the advisory committee also is expected to vote on a recommendation to the Commission regarding the “Section 4(a)(1½) exemption” sometimes used by shareholders to resell privately issued securities. This topic was initially discussed at the committee’s March 4 meeting.The meeting will be held at the SEC’s headquarters at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC, and is open to the public. It also will be webcast live on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, and will be archived on the website for later viewing.

Volcker Rule likely delayed until after US presidential elections

Monday, 16 April 2012
Volcker Rule likely delayed until after US presidential elections As mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Volcker Rule—named for its author, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker—prohibits commercial banks from using their own capital to invest in hedge funds and private equity funds, unless such activity is deemed “systemically important” (that is, is related to market making, securitisation, hedging, and/or risk management) and is limited to a three-percent ownership stake. With nary a fan on either side of the pond, the much-maligned Volcker Rule could be ripe for modification—though any change is more likely to happen later than sooner. David Simons reports. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

As mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Volcker Rule—named for its author, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker—prohibits commercial banks from using their own capital to invest in hedge funds and private equity funds, unless such activity is deemed “systemically important” (that is, is related to market making, securitisation, hedging, and/or risk management) and is limited to a three-percent ownership stake. With nary a fan on either side of the pond, the much-maligned Volcker Rule could be ripe for modification—though any change is more likely to happen later than sooner. David Simons reports.

Regulators had hoped to have the Volcker Rule finalised by mid-July. However, ironing out the increasingly complex proposal—which includes newly added exemptions needed to placate the bill’s many opponents—will likely take much longer.

Retiring Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, head of the House Financial Services Committee and co-author of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, has suggested something of a compromise; that regulators work towards completing a simplified version of the law by early September. "The agencies [have] tried to accommodate a variety of views on the implementation,” says Frank, “but the results reflected in the proposed rule are far too complex, and the final rules should be simplified significantly.”



Financial institutions may be struggling to regain public trust in the wake of the 2008 credit meltdown; however that has not stopped officials from taking aim at the proposed Volcker legislation during the SEC’s comment period which closed on February 13th. Speaking on behalf of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), Tim Ryan, SIFMA’s president and chief executive officer called the proposed regulations “unworkable” and “not faithful to Congressional intent”. Moreover, Ryan says they will have negative consequences for US financial markets and the economy.

Echoing a common theme among Volcker critics, Ryan contends that the new law could result in drastically reduced market liquidity for investors, and make it more difficult for companies to raise capital. SIFMA’s five-part comment letter includes proposed modifications to proprietary trading restrictions and hedge fund/private-equity fund investment activity under Volcker, and expresses concern over Volcker’s impact on municipal securities and global securitisation.

Like almost everything else drafted by the Obama White House, the Volcker Rule has virtually no support in the GOP, and includes among its detractors Daniel Gallagher and Troy Paredes, the two Republican members of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Speaking at an Institute of International Bankers conference held in Washington last month, Gallagher suggested that regulators re-examine their initial efforts and, if necessary, “go back to the drawing board to make sure we regulate wisely, rather than just quickly.”

Not that all of the criticisms have had political overtones. An exception to the rule allowing US banks to continue trading treasuries and municipal bonds has drawn fire from state and local government agencies, which have demanded that they receive the same exemption. The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), the US-based firm charged with protecting investor interest in the municipal-securities space, has urged regulators to expand the rule’s proprietary trading exemptions to include municipal-bond brokers. It’s an effort to avoid “bifurcation” within the municipal securities market, says MSRB, warning current exemptions “are not useful in the municipal securities market,” and unless modified will “prevent a free and open market from prevailing.”

Nor has Volcker venting been limited to the US. In a comment letter issued in February, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), the representative association for Europe’s investment-management community, argued that exemptions favouring US institutions pose a serious threat to European funds due to the potential shift in the balance of power. Accordingly, regulators should take the necessary steps to prevent any negative impact on liquidity and operational efficiency abroad, said the group.

Meanwhile, Oregon’s Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, who along with Senator Carl Levin of Michigan helped draft some of the Volcker provisions, bristled at suggestions that substantial modifications would be required. If anything, said Merkley, the rule needs to be tougher, though not “as vague or complex as regulators are making it.” Also in favour of a stronger Volcker is former Citigroup chief executive officer John S Reed, who has argued that in its present form the rule “does not offer bright enough lines or provide strong enough penalties for violation."

Having made regulatory reform one of its chief priorities, the Obama administration is unlikely to cede any ground in the months leading up to the US presidential elections in November. Hence, even the most vocal of Volcker opponents admit that change is unlikely to happen until after the new Congress convenes in January of next year.

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