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Securities Regulation in 2017

Securities Regulation in 2017


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Full video transcript available below:

As all of you know on January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Since that time there have been significant uncertainty about regulatory direction for the financial industry. There's widespread expectation that the president and congress will seek some amount of financial deregulation. The scope of such deregulation is not known. President Trump issued an Executive Order, order number 13772, directing the Secretary of the Treasury to review financial regulations and to prepare a report on his findings, which was released on June 12th, 2017. We'll go into further detail on the next slide with respect to that report.

 

There also have been some major appointments with federal and non-federal agencies. For instance Jay Clayton was confirmed as Chairman of the SEC. There's a new SEC corporate finance director, William H. Hinman and a deputy director, which was an appointment of our partner at our firm, Robert Evans. It's been a pleasure to work with Rob Evans over the years here. We're very happy for him. A new SEC enforcement have been made including Stephanie Avakian and Steve Peikin. Christopher Giancarlo nominated to serve as the Chairman of the CFTC and there's a new CEO at FINRA, Robert Cooke. So there's a lot of change in leadership on this level.

 

In addition, there have also been substantial uncertainty in the financial industry as congress considers topics such as the Financial Choice Act and tax reform, which we'll discuss in further detail on the next slide. Next slide Joe.

 

On the next slide, we're going to talk about the Executive Order 13772, as well as the report that was directed by Treasury to prepare. The Executive Order provided a list of "Core Principles" that should inform regulation of the United States financial system, including the following the topics. Now as you'll see, these topics are very broad based, which basically leaves room for interpretation. Making regulation efficient, effective and appropriately tailored, restoring public accountability within federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalizing the federal financial regulatory framework, fostering economic growth and vibrant financial market through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry. Those are very, very broad.

 

Now with the Executive Order, the President directed the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare a report detailing a review of, among other things, the existing regulatory framework, and what is and can be done to promote the "Core Principles" listed in the order, some of which I just mentioned above. The initial report, which was released on June 12th of this year, focused on depository institutions and detailed findings and suggested recommendations.

 

In that respect, it's important to think of the Treasury Report form June 12th as a very important document for the financial sector. The document focuses on depository institutions and suggestions and recommendations for changes to financial regulation, and depositary institutions, but for those who are looking at and betting on where financial institution change might go, people have been pointing to the treasury report as being a very, very critical piece. We won't cover it in detail, because it focuses on depositary institutions. Today's update is more a markets update, but an interesting document to take a look at.

 

Great, thank you Russell. Joe, next slide. The next slide we're going to address the high level overview of the Financial Choice Act. The Choice Act was introduced in the House on April 26th, 2017. An amended version was passed on June 8th, 2017, so very recent. The bill proposes a number of significant changes to United States financial regulatory framework including the following; the repeal of Title II, the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the orderly liquidation authority. This Orderly Liquidation of Authority is part of a process to liquidate the large financial institution that is close to failing. The repeal of the Volcker Rule, which most of you are probably are very familiar with. The regulatory off-ramp for well capitalized financial institution, a restructuring of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB.

 

For instance, as part of this restructuring, the CFPB can no longer create rules and would now purely serve as an enforcement function. In addition, the Choice Act would repeal DOL Fiduciary Rule, which I'm sure all of you are very familiar with. It's just a very high level framework of the Choice Act, clearly there are other provisions proposed therein, but we wanted to give you some high level on this slide. Great. Joe, next slide.

 

Great, now we're going to talk about tax reform, again very high level. Currently there are a number of competing and often conflicting proposals for tax reform. As everybody knows, tax reform affects everyone and will affect the financial industry significantly. Currently, there's an overall general feeling of caution and uncertainty.

 

It's hard to overstate the manner in which tax reform impacts the financial industry. Everything from financial planning and retail and wealth management end of the industry, right on through to the fund industry and to the advisory and institutional piece of the industry is impacted by tax reform. In that respect, virtually every major tax reform proposal is a matter of the greatest and the highest interest for the financial industry and for the broader economy that are our clients. In looking at tax reform at this time, there's a tremendous number of proposals out there, a lot of speculation in all different directions and no bill or proposed bill are outlined yet on the table.

 

In many ways, much of what we say for the rest of the next hour is tempered but the fact that tax reform in varying forms will reverberate and will have reverberations throughout the financial industry. We're looking very actively and everybody's paying close attention to tax reform for the way in which its ripples will impact the other things we're talking about today. In that respect, a word on Choice Act verses Reconciliation, it is of course a matter of fact that the US House of Representatives has passed the Choice Act in its current form in the form that Jennifer just summarized. The Choice Act as passed, is a very aggressive document in many ways, including for example, the repeal of OLA and the complete repeal of the Volcker Rule.

 

Now, of course the Senate must take up the difficult task of writing its own bill and passing its own bill and reconciling that bill with the House Choice Act as passed. There is little belief among regulators with whom we speak that the Choice Act will survive, or that much of the Choice Act will survive in its current form. People are looking to other tea leaves to get a sense of where the Senate will go and where reconciliation will come out. In that respect, people are paying special attention to the Treasury Department document, the Treasury Department White Paper that was recently published on depositary actions and on the forth coming Treasury Department White Papers, which are not yet published, but are promised in the existing White Paper on issues including trading and markets issues. 

 
 
 
 
 

 

This webinar was co-hosted with Shearman and Sterling LLP

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