SIFMA C&L’s (Compliance & Legal Society’s) Annual Conference this year was in sunny Orlando, and 2000 of the financial industry’s senior compliance and legal professionals gathered to discuss current and emerging issues in the securities industry.

 

We were so happy to see old friends and make new ones at our booth. As always, 8of9 became known for the best swag at the conference. We gave out beanies with built in Bluetooth speakers – since we are helping regulatory information get communicated over all the noise in the market!

It was an especially exciting event as it was the 50th anniversary of the conference, the theme, “A Constant Voice Through 50 Years of Change.” Overall, the keynote speeches discussed the goal of recalibrating regulations within the U.S. and internationally. And as always, a pressing concern was ensuring that our capital markets are able to run efficiently in the face of stress. Visit our friends at SIFMA for their debrief.

A few interesting takeaways on some of our favorite regulations:

  • Volcker Rule

o   The House Financial Services Committee recently reported a bill to designate the Federal Reserve Board as the lead regulator for the Volcker Rule. The Federal Reserve Board would hold all rulemaking and interpretive authority.

  • SEC Best-Interest Standard

o   The SEC is looking to simplify regulations for investors. Currently, if an individual with a 401(k) account buys an annuity and holds a brokerage account with stocks in it, that person will have a financial relationship with five regulators. The SEC believes this creates too many standards to comply with and is working towards simplification.

Harmonizing International Regulations

o   Treasury reports have given approximately 200 recommendations on prudential regulations. A SIFMA panel discussed how to adapt international standards in ways that keep U.S. capital markets running efficiently. They discussed a path to move forward based on four principles:

  • Efficiency via a cost-benefit assessment    
  • Transparency through appropriate notifications and comment periods
  • Simplicity
  • Coherency in regulations
  • Crapo Bill

o   The Senate recently passed this bill which differentiates regulations according to the size of a bank, and is meant to provide regulatory relief for smaller regional and community banks. This is viewed by many conference participants as critical to spurring U.S. bank lending.

DOL Fiduciary Rule

o   Days before SIFMA’s annual conference, the 5th Circuit’s Court of Appeals vacated the DOL Fiduciary Rule.

o   The rule will be out on May 7th unless the DOL appeals to the 5th Circuit or takes the appeal to the Supreme Court.

o   SIFMA and other market participants seem pleased with the 5th Circuit’s decision.

o   However, many market participants’ compliance teams have already updated policies and procedures and changed contract language to comply with the rule. Now, these teams will need to go back to review and potentially make changes.

 

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