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As we discuss in our memorandum released today and available here, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) last week took a significant step in its regulation of virtual asset activities by establishing a new, opt-in regulatory sandbox framework for virtual asset trading platform operators, proposing new licensing requirements for portfolio managers and imposing new requirements on fund distributers engaged in virtual asset activities.  These actions were issued through several documents, including a…
The Federal Reserve has finalized a new supervisory ratings system for large financial institutions (LFIs), discussed in our visual memorandum here.  The new LFI rating system, which reflects the three core areas of focus in the Federal Reserve’s current LFI supervisory framework—capital, liquidity and governance and controls—is meant to fully align with the Federal Reserve’s current supervisory programs and practices, enhance the clarity and consistency of supervisory assessments and communications of supervisory findings and…
On October 11, 2018, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a lengthy “Advisory on the Iranian Regime’s Illicit and Malign Activities and Attempts to Exploit the Financial System,” (the “Iran Advisory”), which provides examples and typologies of the Iranian regime’s exploitation of financial institutions worldwide, and identifies a number of “red flags” intended to assist financial institutions in identifying malign Iranian activity.  According to FinCEN, the Iran Advisory is intended…
After a several-year pause, the CFTC is again re-assessing its approach to cross-border regulation of swap activities. The CFTC’s current approach is embodied in various rulemakings, guidance, orders, and agreements with non-U.S. regulators that have been adopted, issued, and entered into since 2013. The CFTC has, over the past several years, periodically sought to adjust or re-evaluate its approach to cross-border swaps regulation, including in a 2016 Proposed Cross-Border Rule. CFTC Chairman Giancarlo has…
On October 11, 2018, the SEC reopened the comment period and requested additional comments for previously proposed rules relating to capital, margin, and segregation requirements for security-based swap dealers (“SBSDs”), major security-based swap participants (“MSBSPs,” and together with SBSDs, “SBS Entities”) and, in some cases, broker-dealers.  The rules, most of which were initially proposed six years ago, would establish: capital and margin requirements for non-bank SBS Entities (the federal banking regulators adopted capital and margin…
On October 5, 2018, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that it had entered into an approximately $5.3 million civil monetary settlement with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMC”) for apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515, the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560, and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 544.  At the same time, OFAC announced that…
It is no secret that the United States lags behind other countries in the development of a national real-time payments infrastructure.[1]  There are, of course, explanations for this lag, including widespread participation in the existing infrastructure rails and the existence of many different stakeholder interests limiting consensus over reforms.  So far, the Federal Reserve has been cautious, using its powers of moral suasion and its intellectual firepower to bring together stakeholders to start…
The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the federal banking regulators have taken a small step towards improving the BSA/AML compliance framework for depository institutions.  These agencies issued a Joint Statement on Banks and Credit Unions Sharing Resources to Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness of Bank Secrecy Act Compliance (Joint Statement) on October 3, 2018 to address ways in which small banks and credit unions may enter into collaborative arrangements to share resources to…
FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams has announced a “Trust through Transparency” initiative that is remarkable and well worth a read.  In our view, there are three main takeaways.  One is the importance of transparency to public trust in a Democracy, the second is how important it is that the government be accountable to the governed, which in the banking sector translates as consistency in the supervisory environment, and the third is a rethinking of what should…
The past two weeks have seen a number of developments with respect to U.S. sanctions relating to Russia, as the Trump administration has (1) taken additional steps to ameliorate adverse consequences for U.S. persons of the significant sanctions actions targeting Russian oligarchs announced on April 6, 2018; (2) further implemented the Russia-related sanctions provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (“CAATSA”); and (3) issued a new Executive order creating a framework…