Is your resolution plan enough?

Enhancing the second line of defense framework

Over the past several years, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (collectively, “the Agencies”) have shifted their focus on resolution planning, now emphasizing the capabilities that banks must demonstrate in order to have a credible plan. Through their feedback letters to institutions, guidance, and FAQs, it is evident that the Agencies are emphasizing plan execution rather than conceptual strategy.

Banks’ first lines of defense (FLOD) should demonstrate that they can execute the plan to the Agencies. By using the second lines of defense (SLOD) to review controls, manage internal testing, and provide credible challenge, banks may be able to reduce the chances of the Agencies finding a firm’s plan “non-credible.” Ultimately, banks should demonstrate that required actions are replicable in order to reduce exposure to agency criticism.

One key to success? Accurate and precise data. Banks have the opportunity to leverage data to improve resolution planning processes continuously, which captures data that demonstrates they can execute their preferred resolution strategy. That same data can be used to improve efficiencies and avoid potential identified shortfalls or deficiencies.

By embracing resolution planning’s complexity, banks can accelerate their performance to lead the industry and better navigate resolution planning challenges, especially as changes occur.

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Regulatory reporting: Revisions to Call Report and other related reports

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently announced significant changes to bank regulatory reporting requirements (including the “Call Report”) that are expected to result in reduced reporting burden.  The changes originated in December 2014, when the FFIEC launched an initiative to reduce burdens associated with the Call Report. Since then, the FFIEC and its member agencies—the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)—have taken several actions to meet this goal, including the creation of a new streamlined Call Report for smaller institutions (FFIEC 051) that took effect with the March 31, 2017 report date.

The goals underlying this initiative coincide with a focus on simplifying, rationalizing, and recalibrating aspects of the regulatory framework, including regulatory reporting.  In support of the burden efforts, the Treasury Department urged regulators to “streamline current regulatory reporting requirements for all community financial institutions” by focusing their efforts on the applicability of each line item.1

Below is an overview of three recent developments with respect to the Call Report,2 the FFIEC 002 (Report of Assets and Liabilities of US Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks) and FFIEC 002S (Report of Assets and Liabilities of a Non-US Branch that is Managed or Controlled by a US Branch of Agency of a Foreign (Non-US) Bank),3 and the FR Y-9C (Consolidated Financial Statements of Holding Companies), as well as the key takeaways for covered institutions.4

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CMS issues guidance for states to seek Medicaid waivers including work requirements

On January 11, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a State Medicaid Director Letter that provides detailed guidance for states interested in establishing work or other community engagement requirements for certain adult beneficiaries to enroll in or continue coverage under their state’s Medicaid program under a waiver of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act.

CMS on Friday, January 12, 2018, approved Kentucky’s 1115 waiver including work requirements, making it the first of the 10 states seeking such waivers to win approval. At least one other state has expressed interest in such a waiver since CMS released the letter.

The Obama Administration rejected work requirements as part of state 1115 waiver applications, asserting that such requirements were not permitted under federal law. A number of advocacy organizations have said they will consider court challenges to block waivers including work requirements from taking effect.

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CMS announces new voluntary bundled payment model

On January 10, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced a new Medicare bundled payment model, Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI-Advanced), which will be an advanced alternative payment model (AAPM) under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s (MACRA) Quality Payment Program (QPP). The model establishes alternative payment structures for 32 distinct clinical episodes, where providers can participate on a voluntary basis and receive performance-based payments for delivering care at less than a target amount and meeting quality standards.

Following on the 2013 CMMI BPCI initiative, BPCI-Advanced demonstrates CMS’ continued support of bundled payments on a voluntary basis to encourage both providers and suppliers to coordinate care across multiple settings and meet cost and quality benchmarks. This program is intended as an opportunity for providers to gain experience in care coordination and shared payment structures on their own terms. Details on BPCI-Advanced are described below.

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FRB proposes new supervisory expectations for senior management, business line management, independent risk management and controls of large financial institutions

In connection with its August 2017 proposal to establish a new rating system for large financial institutions (LFIs)1, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) issued proposed guidance on January 4, 2018 outlining supervisory expectations for senior management, business line management, and independent risk management (IRM) and controls in the form of principles.2

Once finalized, the guidance will help inform the FRB’s overall evaluation of a firm’s governance and controls (i.e., one of the three components of the new rating system, along with capital planning and positions and liquidity risk management and positions).  The proposed guidance is generally consistent with a high-level preview of expectations provided in the August rating system proposal, though the guidance would now also extend to the US operations of foreign banking organizations (FBOs).3

The proposed guidance would apply to US bank holding companies (BHCs), savings and loan holding companies (SLHCs), and the combined US operations of FBOs with more than $50 billion in total assets, as well as state member bank subsidiaries of these organizations and nonbank financial companies designated for enhanced supervision by the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

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Judge allows 340B drug payment cuts for 2018 to proceed pending a final ruling

On December 29, 2017, a ruling by a US District Court Judge denied a preliminary injunction to the cuts to Medicare Part B reimbursement rates for 340B drugs pending a final legal decision in a suit filed by a group of about 30 affected hospitals and related associations. The plaintiffs initially filed suit on November 13, with an initial hearing held on December 21 in which the plaintiffs advocated for a preliminary injunction of the rule. In denying of the preliminary injunction, the rate cuts took effect on January 1, 2018.

The suit stems from a provision in the Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) final rule issued on November 1, 2017. In the final rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) announced that it would no longer reimburse certain 340B-purchased drugs at the standard Part B rate of Average Sales Price (ASP) plus 6 percent, instead paying a rate of ASP minus 22.5 percent.

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Proposed rule sets stage to expand availability of association health plans; HHS seeks comment on choice, competition in health care markets

On January 4, 2018, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rule outlining changes to the definition of “employer” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in an effort to make association health plans (AHPs) more broadly available to small employers and their employees. In doing so, the proposed rule would lay the groundwork for more small employers and their employees to join AHPs, which generally are considered large group health plans and are not subject to insurance market requirements for small group and non-group health insurance products that were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Examples of such insurance market reforms include the essential health benefits (EHB) package.

ERISA is the 1974 federal law that generally regulates health coverage offered by large employers and pre-empts state insurance requirements for self-funded coverage.

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529 Plans – Where we are today

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Securities Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) have highlighted concerns around the sale of 529 College Savings Plans (“529 Plans”).1 The concerns they have expressed revolve primarily around 529 Plans share class recommendations and the conflicts of interest that may exist with such recommendations. These concerns remain relevant, and may receive additional scrutiny given the current focus of multiple regulators on fees, conflicts of interest and fiduciary behavior. Continue reading “529 Plans – Where we are today”

FRB, FDIC issue feedback on 2017 US G-SIB resolution plans, find no deficiencies

On December 19, 2017, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (collectively, the agencies) announced credibility determinations and released firm-specific feedback on the 2017 resolution plans submitted by the eight US global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) under Section 165(d) of Dodd-Frank.1

Notably, the agencies announced that none of the plans had deficiencies,2 which reflects the “significant progress made in recent years.”

However, the agencies found that four of the plans had shortcomings3 related to derivatives and trading activities, separability, and legal entity rationalization (each plan had a single shortcoming).  In addition, the agencies identified four areas in which “more work needs to be done by all firms to continue to improve their resolvability”:

  1. intra-group liquidity,
  2. internal loss-absorbing capacity,
  3. derivatives, and
  4. payment, clearing, and settlement activities.

The agencies also expect firms to “remain vigilant in considering the resolution consequences of their day-to-day management decisions.” For a detailed analysis of the agencies feedback, click here.

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FRB applies global market shock to IHCs

Nearly one year after the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) subjected certain intermediate holding companies (IHCs) to the CFO attestation requirement for the FR Y-14A/Q/M regulatory reports, it further amended the reports by, among other things, modifying the scope of the global market shock (GMS) component of the Dodd-Frank Act stress tests (DFAST) to include certain IHCs.

GMS applicability

Specifically, the FRB amended the application of the GMS to include any firm that (1) has aggregate trading assets and liabilities of $50 billion or more, or aggregate trading assets and liabilities equal to 10 percent or more of total consolidated assets, and (2) is not a “large and noncomplex firm” under its capital plan rule.1 As a result of this change, the FRB expects that six IHCs will become subject to the GMS, and the six US bank holding companies that meet the current materiality threshold will remain subject to the requirement.

Although the FRB finalized the amendment to the GMS threshold as proposed, it decided to delay the application of the GMS to firms that will become newly subject to it (i.e., the six IHCs) until the 2019 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) and DFAST exercises (rather than the 2018 exercises, as originally proposed).  The FRB explains that it “recognizes the challenges associated with building the systems necessary to report the data in the trading schedule.”2

However, the FRB emphasized that the “materiality of trading exposures and counterparty positions to US IHCs may warrant applying an additional component to firms that meet such criteria.”  Accordingly, it noted that it may apply such components or scenarios under the 2018 DFAST exercise.

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