Morrison Foerster discusses Top Ten International Anti-Corruption Developments for May 2015

In order to provide an overview for busy in-house counsel and compliance professionals, we summarize below some of the most important international anti-corruption developments in the past month with links to primary resources. This month some major anti-corruption cases, both Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and nonFCPA related, have dominated the headlines and are reflected in our coverage. In addition, a number of government officials on both sides of the Atlantic have been on the speaking circuit, and we have captured some of the highlights from their speeches. Here is our May 2015 Top Ten list:

  1. FIFA Officials and Sports

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Zonis Parsont

The U.S. Menu of Early-Stage Capital-Raising Options: Lessons for the European Commission

The European Commission, in its green paper dated February 18, 2015, announced the “need to build a true single market for capital – a Capital Markets Union for all 28 Member States.”[1] One of the goals of the Capital Markets Union is to unlock more investment for small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”). SMEs are Europe’s equivalent to startups and small businesses in the United States. At present, small businesses in Europe receive five times less funding from the capital markets than their American counterparts.[2] So, the European Commission is looking for feedback from those who work in … Read more

Roe Vatiero

Corporate Governance and its Political Economy

To fully understand the modern corporation’s ownership, shape, and distribution of authority, one must attend to politics. Because basic dimensions of corporate organization can affect the interests of voters, because powerful concentrated interest groups seek particular outcomes that deeply affect large corporations, because those deploying corporate and financial resources from within the corporation to buttress their own interests can affect policy outcomes, and because the structure of some democratic governments fits better with some corporate ownership structures than with others, politics can and does determine core structures of the large corporation. Interest groups often seek to obtain via politics both … Read more

Sarah Light

The New Insider Trading: Environmental Markets within the Firm

Global climate change is the most pressing environmental problem of our time. This fact has led legal scholars and policymakers to debate the relative environmental effectiveness, efficiency, and justice of different public policy instruments such as carbon taxes, cap-and-trade systems, and prescriptive regulation. Such scholarship tends to assume that the government is the key (or only) player setting and enforcing environmental standards against private firms, which are regulatory targets.

In a recent article, entitled, The New Insider Trading: Environmental Markets within the Firm,[1] (available here) I challenge these assumptions through a close examination of British Petroleum’s (BP’s) … Read more

WilmerHale discusses Central Register of Beneficial Ownership to be Introduced in the UK

On 26 March 2015, the United Kingdom Parliament passed into law the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the “Act”).

The Act will bring about a number of fundamental changes to UK company law including, amongst others, the abolition of bearer shares and corporations acting as directors and, perhaps most controversially, the establishment of a central public registry of those individuals who hold significant control of UK companies. The stated aims of the reforms are to “increase transparency around who ultimately owns and controls UK companies,” and should be framed in the wider context of … Read more

Andreou, Andrikopoulos and Christos

The Politics of Sovereign Debt in Greece: Crisis and Realism

The Greek crisis emerged as an offspring of the financial crisis of 2007, the institutional and fiscal problems of the Greek economy, the institutional structure of the Eurozone and, crucially, the failed political management in the last months that led to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the bailout agreement in May 2010. Since then, the Greek governments, along with the creditors, designed and implemented a program of fiscal austerity and institutional reform which lead to some positive fiscal results but also to an unprecedented crisis of liquidity, orientation and cohesion in Greek economy and society.

The financial crisis … Read more

Shearman & Sterling discusses Capital Markets Unions: the EU’s Next Focus for Reforms

On 18 February 2015, the European Commission published a green paper on building a Capital Markets Union, alongside two complementary consultation papers on a revised EU framework for securitisation and a review of the Prospectus Directive. The proposals are part of an initiative to develop a more integrated single market for raising capital across the EU. The proposals in the green paper are in outline form because the ideas for creating the Capital Markets Union remain at an early stage of development. However, with an action plan due to be published later in 2015, they provide insight into the early … Read more

Sullivan & Cromwell discusses President Obama’s Executive Order Authorizing Sanctions for Malicious Cyber Activities

On April 1st, President Obama issued an Executive Order authorizing sanctions against persons found to have engaged in or supported significant malicious cyber activities. Under the order, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to designate and impose sanctions on individuals and entities that are responsible for or complicit in certain cyber-related activities that pose a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health, or financial stability of the United States. The Executive Order focuses in particular on cyber activities that harm or compromise critical infrastructure, disrupt computers or computer networks, or misappropriate funds, information, or trade secrets. … Read more

dan_gallagher

Commissioner Gallagher’s Remarks on Building the Financial System of the 21st Century: An Agenda for Europe and the United States

Thank you, Hal [Scott], for that kind introduction. I apologize for not being able to address you in person. Back in 2013, I opened a speech to the American Academy in Berlin with a bit of German.[1] While I managed not to call myself a jelly donut, my German was nonetheless so bad that I have been banned from entering the country to speak in a public forum.

I applaud Professor Scott and the Harvard Law School for sponsoring this important and timely symposium. After the financial crisis, regulators around the world rushed to take action — any action, … Read more

WINIR Conference on the Nature and Governance of the Corporation

Questions of corporate governance and responsibility have been heightened by a number of corporate scandals and other events leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. In the meantime, philosophers and lawyers have been questioning the very meaning of corporate agency and responsibility, while progress by economists in the theory of the firm is widely perceived to have slowed. The aim of the first WINIR Symposium “The nature and governance of the corporation”, which will be hosted in Lugano at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, Lugano) from 22th to 24th April 2015, is to contribute to our understanding of the … Read more

GMiller

The Role of Risk Management in European Banking Integration

Europe is now engaged in an experiment unprecedented in world history: can independent nations – even if linked by significant legal, economic, and social ties – merge their financial systems into a true banking union?  Policymakers are working diligently to achieve that goal. Spurred by the financial turmoil of 2007-2009 and its aftermath, Europe has created a network of powerful regulatory institutions including the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the European Systemic Risk Board, the European Banking Authority, the Single Resolution Mechanism, and the European Stability Mechanism.  Acting individually and in concert, these bodies are working to enhance the integration of financial … Read more

Skadden discusses New Reporting Requirements on the Horizon for US Financial Services Providers Doing Business with Non-US Persons

Following closely on the heels of the reinstated reporting requirements for inbound and outbound direct investment involving U.S. entities,[1] the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has announced plans to require U.S. financial service providers to respond to the Form BE-180 Benchmark Survey of Financial Services Transactions Between U.S. Financial Services Providers and Foreign Persons. As proposed, responses to Form BE-180 will be required by October 1, 2015, from all U.S. financial service providers that, during their 2014 fiscal year, had financial transactions totaling $3 million or more on a consolidated basis directly with non-U.S. persons (including … Read more

Stanley Fischer

Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer discusses Nonbank Financial Intermediation, Financial Stability, and the Road Forward

It is an honor to speak at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s 20th Financial Markets Conference, and I am grateful to President Lockhart and the organizers for inviting me to do so.[1] This evening I would like to take stock of progress on financial reforms in the nonbank financial sector and highlight some principles for approaching prudential regulation of this sector to further strengthen financial stability.

The nonbank sector includes firms with diverse business models and practices, many of which differ greatly from those of banks. Even so, nonbank firms and activities can pose the same key vulnerabilities … Read more

Davis Polk discusses SEC Issuance of Reporting Rules for Security-Based Swaps

On February 11, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a final rule (the “Final Rule”) and proposed amendments (the “Proposed Rule”) on the reporting and public dissemination of security-based swap (“SBS”) information, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Notably, the SEC:

  • delayed establishing a final compliance schedule for SBS reporting;
  • left many details of SBS reporting, including many of the required data elements, the format of reports and the assignment of product identifiers for standardized SBS, to registered security-based swap data repositories (“SBSDRs”);
  • created an interim phase for the reporting of SBS information,

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Fried Frank discusses Annual Report from CFIUS to Congress – Data Highlight Extent of CFIUS’ Reach

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), a multi-agency U.S. regulatory body empowered to review transactions involving a foreign person and a U.S. business that may affect U.S. national security, recently delivered its unclassified Annual Report to Congress for the calendar year 2013 (“Annual Report”).[1] In accordance with the legal prohibition against public disclosure of such information, the Annual Report contains no information with respect to specific transactions. Nonetheless, it remains a remarkable window into the reach and operation of CFIUS, and its impact on transactions involving U.S. businesses.

As in previous years, and as required … Read more

Clifford Chance discusses Setting a New Benchmark

The Council of the EU has reached political agreement on the EU Benchmark Regulation (the Regulation). The legislation will impose controls on a range of financial market activity that uses interest rate, currency, commodity and other indices to set prices and contract values. Although not yet finalised the new rules are expected to be published later this year and apply in 2016. The Regulation is expansive in scope, covering not only indices such as LIBOR and the DAX but also many other less obvious ‘benchmarks’. The new rules could lead to the transformation or even disappearance of some benchmarks, presenting … Read more

Kirkland & Ellis discusses China Continuing its Aggressive Anti-Monopoly Law Enforcement With a Record-Breaking $975 Million Fine Against Qualcomm

Earlier this week, China’s antitrust regulators started off 2015 with a continuation of last year’s aggressive enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”) by levying an almost $1 billion fine against Qualcomm, about 8 percent of the company’s 2013 China revenue — equaling the highest percentage penalty previously dispensed under the AML, but short of the 10 percent maximum allowable. The penalty ends the NDRC’s first “abuse of dominance” investigation.1  The fine is greater than the total amount of 2014 NDRC AML fines and is five times the combined $202 million fines against the 12 Japanese auto parts and bearings … Read more

Key Speakers At Seminars At The IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings

Chair Yellen discusses Improving the Oversight of Large Financial Institutions

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today, it is great to be back in New York. The Citizens Budget Commission has played an important role over the years as a forum to discuss issues of interest to New Yorkers that are often also of national and even global importance. Given New York’s preeminence as a center of global finance, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss just such a topic, which is how the Federal Reserve oversees the largest financial institutions, many of which are headquartered or have a major presence here, and how that oversight … Read more

Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo

A Pro-Reform Reconsideration of the CFTC Swaps Trading Rules

The following post is taken from an address by CFTC Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo before the ABA Business Law Section, Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Winter Meeting and is dated January 23, 2015.  Commissioner Giancarlo’s address may be accessed here.

Thank you for the kind introduction.

Let me begin with the disclaimer that my remarks today reflect my own views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission), my fellow Commissioners or the CFTC staff.

It is an honor to speak to you today. I see so many truly distinguished members … Read more

Powell

Comments on the Fair and Effective Markets Review

I want to thank the Brookings Institution for inviting me to comment today on Martin Wheatley’s presentation on the Fair and Effective Markets Review (Review).[1] The Review is an ambitious and important initiative. Although London is perhaps the leading center for many fixed-income, currency, and commodities (FICC) markets, these markets are global, and the United States and the largest U.S. firms play key roles in them. So the Review addresses issues that affect our markets as well.

The Review looks to identify further steps that should be taken to restore public confidence in FICC markets in the wake of the … Read more