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On October 13, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report providing high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision, and oversight of “global stablecoin” (GSC) arrangements. FSB defines “stablecoins” as a “specific category of crypto-assets which have the potential to enhance the efficiency of the provision of financial services, but may also generate risks to financial stability, particularly if they are adopted at a significant scale.” GSCs are those with multi-jurisdictional reach that “could become systemically important in and across one or many jurisdictions, including as a means of making payments.” The report, Regulation, Supervision, and Oversight of “Global Stablecoin” Arrangements, follows an analysis of financial stability risks raised by GSCs as well as a survey of FSB and non-FSB members’ approaches to stablecoins. Prior to issuing the report, FSB also conducted several outreach meetings with representatives from regulated financial institutions, fintech firms, academia, and the legal field. The October report, which takes into account public feedback received earlier in the year, outlines 10 high-level recommendations that “call for regulation, supervision and oversight that is proportionate to the risks, and stress the value of flexible, efficient, inclusive, and multi-sectoral cross-border cooperation, coordination, and information sharing arrangements among authorities that take into account the evolving nature of GSC arrangements and the risks they may pose over time.” However, the report stresses that because these recommendations primarily address financial stability risks, issues such as anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, data privacy, cyber security consumer and investor protection, and competition are not covered. These issues, which may present consequences for financial stability if not properly addressed, should be incorporated as part of a comprehensive supervisory, regulatory, and oversight framework, the report states.
Among other things, the report also provides regulatory authorities a guide “of relevant international standards and potential tools to address vulnerabilities arising from GSC activities,” and outlines a timeline of actions that will build a roadmap to ensure “any relevant international standard-setting work is completed.”
On October 10, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report, which asserts that although “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time,” there may be implications for financial stability in the future as market developments evolve. The newest report, “Crypto-asset markets: Potential channels for future financial stability implications,” follows a July report discussing the FSB’s framework for monitoring and assessing vulnerabilities in the financial system resulting from developments in the crypto-asset markets. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) According to the October report, the FSB conducted an assessment which considered the primary risks present in crypto-assets and their markets, such as “low liquidity, the use of leverage, market risks from volatility, and operational risks,” and determined that, “[b]ased on these features, crypto-assets lack the key attributes of sovereign currencies and do not serve as a common means of payment, a stable store of value, or a mainstream unit of account.” However, the October report discussed challenges to assessing and monitoring potential risks and commented on the following implications that may arise from the evolving use of crypto-assets: (i) reputational risks to financial institutions and their regulators; (ii) risks from direct or indirect exposures of financial institutions; (iii) risks resulting from the use of crypto-assets in payments and settlements; and (iv) risks from market capitalization and wealth effects.
On July 16, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report, which asserts that, while “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time,” there exists a need for “vigilant monitoring in light of the speed of developments and data gaps.” According to “Crypto-assets: Report to the G20 on work by the FSB and standard-setting bodies” (the Report), the FSB and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) have developed a framework to monitor and assess vulnerabilities in the financial system resulting from developments in the crypto-asset markets. As previously covered in InfoBytes, the FSB earlier released a letter to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in March noting that “[c]rypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, as well as their use to shield illicit activity and for money laundering and terrorist financing.” The Report specifically discusses actions being undertaken by international regulatory bodies, including (i) the CPMI’s investigation into distributed ledger technologies and monitoring of payment innovations; (ii) the International Organization of Securities Commissions creation of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Consultative Network, development of a framework for members to use when dealing with investor-protection issues stemming from ICOs, and exploration into regulatory issues regarding crypto-assets platforms; and (iii) the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s assessment of the materiality of banks’ crypto-asset exposures, exploration of appropriate prudential treatment of those exposures, and monitoring of crypto-asset and other financial technology developments. The Financial Action Task Force is also working separately on a report to the G20 on crypto-asset concerns regarding money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
On March 18, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a letter previously sent to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on March 13, which set forth priorities designed to “reinforce the G20’s objective of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.” Among other things, FSB presented its initial assessment that “crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time” due to their “small size” and “limited use for real economy and financial transaction”; however, FSB stressed that this assessment is subject to change should crypto-assets become more widely used or integrated within the regulated financial system. “Crypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, as well as their use to shield illicit activity and for money laundering and terrorist financing,” the letter stated. “At the same time, the technologies underlying them have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of both the financial system and the economy.” The letter also described priority deliverables FSB planned to implement, such as (i) Basel III banking reforms; (ii) policy to de-risk correspondent banking; (iii) a toolkit on governance measures to address misconduct risk; (iv) evaluations of certain financial reforms; and (v) a financial sector cybersecurity lexicon. The FSB also noted that it would continue to shift away from policy development and instead focus on the transparency and efficiency of its existing programs.
On March 9, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) announced the release of its Supplementary Guidance to the FSB Principles and Standards on Sound Compensation Practices (Supplementary Guidance) relating to FSB’s Principles and Standards published in 2009. The Supplementary Guidance arises out of a 2015 workplan implemented to address concerns about compensation practices that could create misaligned incentives within financial institutions. The Supplementary Guidance, which does not contain new or additional principles and standards, provides recommendations presented in three parts: (i) “governance of compensation and misconduct risk”; (ii) “effective alignment of compensation with misconduct risk”; and (iii) “supervision of compensation and misconduct risk.” The Supplementary Guidance notes that “inappropriately structured compensation arrangements can provide individuals with incentives to take imprudent risks,” which may lead to potential harm for financial institutions and their customers or stakeholders. The Supplementary Guidance suggests that financial institutions use compensation tools as part of an overall strategy to limit risks and address misconduct, and cautions that “compensation should be adjusted for all types of risk.”
House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Explores Dodd-Frank’s “Too Big to Fail” Designation Process
On March 28, the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing that examined the processes used by the Financial Stability Oversight Council to designate nonbank financial companies under Section 113 of Dodd-Frank. As discussed in a memorandum issued prior to the hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, the hearing was also scheduled to go over the findings of a recent Financial Services Committee Staff Report, including concerns over whether FSOC has acted inconsistently in exercising its power to designate certain nonbank companies as “too big to fail.” During the hearing, the subcommittee heard from the following witnesses:
- Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
- Dr. Paul Kupiec, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
- Professor David Zaring, Associate Professor, Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
- Mr. Alex J. Pollock, Distinguished Senior Fellow, R Street Institute
In a press release available on the Financial Services Committee webpage following the hearing, the majority members of the subcommittee identified the “Key Takeaways from the Hearing,” as: (i) “[t]he Dodd-Frank Act created an arbitrary threshold that the FSOC uses to designate systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs); (ii) “FSOC’s process for designating SIFIs in essence codifies "too big to fail" and poses a threat to the U.S. economy”; (iii) “[t]he Financial CHOICE Act, the Republican plan to replace Dodd-Frank and promote economic growth” would “end ‘too big to fail’ and bank bailouts.”
On November 21, the Financial Stability Board, in consultation with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and national authorities, released its updated 2016 list of G-SIBs and 2016 list of G-SIIs. Each of the new 2016 lists comprise the same banks/insurers as those on their respective 2015 list. The Basel Committee also released the following additional information related to its 2016 G-SIB assessment: (i) a list of all the banks in the assessment sample; (ii) the denominators of each indicator used to calculate the banks' scores; (iii) the cutoff score that was used to identify the G-SIBs in the updated list; (iv) the thresholds used to allocate G-SIBs to buckets for the purpose of calculating the specific higher loss absorbency requirements; and (v) links to disclosures of all banks in the assessment sample.
On November 10, the Financial Stability Board issued policy proposals in response to G20 Leaders’ request at the 2013 St. Petersburg Summit to develop proposals by the end of 2014. The proposals consist of “a set of principles and a detailed term sheet on the adequacy of loss-absorbing and recapitalization capacity of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs).” The proposals will establish a new minimum standard for total loss-absorbing capacity (TLAC). The new TLAC standard should (i) ensure home and host authorities that G-SIBs have adequate capacity to absorb losses; (ii) allow resolution authorities “to implement a resolution strategy that minimi[zes] any impact on financial stability and ensures the continuity of critical economic functions;” and (iii) help achieve an equal playing field internationally. Comments and responses to the proposals are due by February 2, 2015.
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- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss "Major litigation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Kathryn L. Ryan to discuss "Pandemic fallout – Navigating practical operational challenges" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Consumer financial services" at the Practising Law Institute Banking Law Institute
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