Key highlights of the Volcker Rule proposal

On May 30, 2018, the Federal Reserve Board approved a 373 page notice of proposed rulemaking (the “proposal”) to amend the regulations implementing the Volcker Rule (the Rule), a centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”).  The proposal aims to simplify and tailor the compliance requirements of the Rule, which was finalized back in December 2013 to prevent banks from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning hedge funds or private equity funds. The proposed changes were jointly developed and approved by the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Legal entity reporting: Common challenges and banking industry practices

Optimizing your legal entity regulatory reporting process

Background for legal entity reporting

Depending upon the legal entity structure and headquarters of a parent bank, several different reporting forms are used to identify legal entities and associated information, including their purpose and type of legal form. This information is used for monitoring compliance with laws and regulations including by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (“Federal Reserve”): the Dodd-Frank Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Regulation Y (Bank Holding Companies and Change in Bank Control), Regulation YY (Enhanced Prudential Standards), and Regulation QQ (Resolution Plans).  This information is also an important component in regulators determining an institution’s level of complexity.

As events occur that affect a firm’s organizational structure, a report is filed to record the event driven (FR Y-10, Report of Changes in Organizational Structure).  Annually, the end of the parent company fiscal year, a report is submitted that includes an organization chart and information concerning shareholders and public financial statements (FR Y-6, Annual Report of Holding Companies1, and FR Y-7, Annual Report of Foreign Banking Organizations2).  The information from the event-driven forms are compared to the annual organizational chart. All of this information is commonly referred to as banking structure data.

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Bipartisan financial services regulatory relief legislation (S.2155) signed into law, would amend key Dodd-Frank thresholds

On May 24, 2018, the bipartisan banking act S. 2155 (the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act”) has officially been signed into law. The Act, which marks the most significant changes to the Dodd-Frank Act since its enactment in 2010, was cleared by the House of Representatives on May 22, 2018, by a vote of 258 to 159.

Most notably, the Act would raise the statutory asset thresholds related to the imposition of enhanced prudential standards (EPS) and the Dodd-Frank Act stress tests (DFAST):

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Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations alert on advisory fee and expense compliance issues

On April 12, 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) released an alert highlighting the most frequent fee and expense compliance issues identified during investment adviser examinations.1 While these identified deficiencies do not necessarily constitute violations of law or regulation, they reflect breakdowns of operating controls that could lead to inadvertent breaches of fiduciary duty. The alert, coupled with other recent SEC actions, provides critical insight into regulatory focus areas and expectations regarding advisory programs. As discussed in Deloitte’s2 recent white paper, The Rewards and Risks of Managed Account Programs, advisory accounts are an ever-increasing area of focus for regulators as growth continues to accelerate across the industry, surpassing $6T in total assets in Investment Advisory solutions at the end of 2017.3 Firms should carefully consider the OCIE alert and explore the tools and services available to support advisory program compliance while prioritizing, planning, and executing their risk management efforts.

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Regulatory reporting programs: Human capital imperative

Notwithstanding the importance of a sustainable governance structure and high-quality data, perhaps the most critical element of an effective regulatory reporting program is proper investment in human capital.

Unfortunately, in many cases, firms have underinvested, both in number and types of resourcing, in the human capital component of their reporting programs. This could be a result of senior management viewing the regulatory reporting organization as a “back office” function, where skills needed are limited to basic financial accounting knowledge with an operations orientation.  Traditionally, staff in a regulatory reporting function that was part of corporate finance were long tenured and knew legacy processes well.  Conversely, staff in the business lines, who were responsible for providing data to corporate finance, had little knowledge of reporting requirements or the impact of this data.  This approach worked as long as the data concepts were not complex, data requirements were static, and the processes supporting the report preparation process were not subject to frequent change.

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Review of retail sales practices at Canada’s big six banks

Canadian banks and foreign operations of federally regulated banks in Canada are subject to federal consumer protection legislation overseen by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). The FCAC completed a review of retail sales practices at Canada’s big six banks. The summary findings were released on Tuesday March 20, 2018. The review called for stronger governance and oversight but did not find widespread “mis-selling”. The FCAC review resulted in five key findings:

  1. Retail banking culture is predominantly focused on selling products and services, increasing the risk that consumers’ interests are not always given the appropriate priority.
  2. Performance management programs—including financial and non-financial incentives, sales targets and scorecards—may increase the risk of mis-selling and breaching market conduct obligations.
  3. Certain products, business practices and distribution channels present higher sales practices risk.
  4. Governance frameworks do not manage sales practices risk effectively.
  5. Controls to mitigate the risks associated with sales practices are underdeveloped.

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Technology and data governance: Investing in a way that pays back

Financial institutions are increasingly seeing the need for an increased focus on investments in technology and data governance that can provide standard-yet-granular and high-quality data to support financial stability, and help with monitoring their safety and soundness. The right kind of data must also be easily accessible and malleable enough to be re-purposed as needed, and provide actionable insights and analysis. Beyond regulatory compliance, executives understand that their firms stand to reap other business benefits that can provide competitive advantages.  This was echoed in a recent survey where CFOs were asked:

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Stepping off the curb: A better governance structure and effective operating models for regulatory reporting

Regulatory reporting operating model – A new paradigm

Heightened regulatory expectations for regulatory reporting requires institutions to focus on preparing high-quality reports. One key element of this focus should be a governance structure that enforces accountability, measures data quality, mitigates reporting and operational risks, and allocates resources to address data and financial reporting challenges.

An “optimized” regulatory operating model involves managing and measuring regulatory reporting risk as a firm-wide activity. As such, the regulatory reporting operating model should follow a centralized framework, where corporate finance, risk, and business line executives create an equal partnership. Current regulatory expectations reflect that the historical operating models, such as projects with little accountability at the business line, are too often ineffective.  That is, the historical model cannot support the demand for high quality, fit-for-purpose data at a granular level with ever increasing complexity.

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FDIC Part 370 frequently asked questions

For the benefit of insured depository institutions with two million or more deposit accounts (a “Covered Institution” or “CI”), FDIC has recently published a compilation of frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) from the inquiries it had received from covered institutions as well as outreach meetings it had conducted with them. This publication also provides FDIC responses and staff opinions as guidance to covered institutions in implementing 12 C.F.R. Part 370 (“Part 370”).

In the publication, FDIC also notes that the Technical Guide will be updated over time, as when “new information regarding system architecture, interfaces, capabilities, and limitations may come to light resulting in additional feedback” from input from FDIC to covered institutions.

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Allowance for credit losses and FFIEC 002 reporting

The significant changes in the accounting for credit losses (e.g., Current Expected Credit Losses or “CECL”, and International Financial Reporting Standards 9 or “IFRS 9”) can have a unique effect on the US branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations (FBOs).  As US banking institutions are in the process of getting ready for the upcoming requirement, this may also be a good time to discuss the relevant Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL) considerations for the US branches and agencies of the FBOs. In this article, we consider the current reporting, common problems, and issues to be considered concerning the adoption of CECL.

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