FRB, FDIC release public sections of 2018 Resolution Plans of the four LISCC FBOs

On July 9, 2018, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“FRB”) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) released the public sections of the resolution plans for the four foreign banking organizations’ (“FBOs”) overseen by the Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee (“LISCC”).1 The four FBOs were required to submit their plans by July 1, 2018, which included both private and public sections.

The 2018 public sections are comparatively longer than those submitted in the firms’ last full submissions in 2015—a total of 214 pages in 2018 compared to 162 pages in 2015—and contain significant new details about the FBOs’ completed and forthcoming enhancements to resolution planning capabilities. This expansion was largely expected as this submission marked the FBOs’ first reaction to regulatory guidance published in April 2017 2 and FAQs in September 2017 3 (collectively “2017 FBO Guidance”) that was specifically directed at these four banks.

Background

The 2017 FBO Guidance is generally consistent with the guidance previously issued to the eight US global systemically important banks (“US G-SIBS”) for 2017.4 Most notably in the 2017 FBO Guidance, the Agencies incorporated Supervision and Regulation (SR) Letter 14-1 (Principles and Practices for Recovery and Resolution Preparedness),5 which previously was technically applicable to US-GSIBs only. The guidance contained in SR 14-1 outlines specific and more substantive expectations for resolution capabilities.6 While overall the 2017 FBO guidance follows that for the US G-SIBs, it contains certain modifications and tailoring to address issues unique to FBOs such as the relationship and alignment between the US and group resolution plans, the role of branch entities, and guidance for permissible parent support.
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FRB, FDIC issue proposed additional and consolidated guidance for 2019 GSIB resolution plans

On Friday, June 29, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, “the Agencies”) issued proposed updated resolution planning guidance to the eight largest and complex US Banking Institutions (“GSIBs” or “firms”) in relation to how the GSIBs should develop their next iteration of the 165 (d) Resolution Plans1 which are due July 1, 2019.2 The GSIBs last submitted their 165(d) Resolution Plans in July 2017.

This proposed guidance is intended to be supplementary to the specific feedback guidance issued in December 2017,3 where the Agencies noted that firms have made progress on enhancing resolvability, including eight areas of common progress, but emphasized further action is needed to address certain shortcomings for four firms, and identified improvement areas for all GSIBs. From the proposed guidance issuance date in the Federal Register, the interested parties and the public have 60 days to provide feedback to the Agencies on the proposed guidance.
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The growing need for regulatory reporting change management processes

Historically, regulatory reporting requirements were relatively static with the changes incremental in nature. For the most part, reporting requirements were initiated by policymakers through written announcements, regulators websites, and notices in the Federal Register. The new reporting requirements typically had long lead times and the changes managed by corporate finance/ regulatory reporting functions. Because of implementation schedules and technology challenges, often the reporting solutions were siloed and tactical, involving manual processes.

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2018 Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test (DFAST): Our take

The Federal Reserve (“Fed”) released the results of its Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests (DFAST) that measure the potential impact of adverse or severely adverse economic conditions on the performance and condition of the 35 Bank Holding Companies (BHCs) and Intermediate Holding Companies (IHCs)1 subject to the rule.  These results will be followed on June 28, 2018 by the Fed’s conclusions regarding the adequacy of bank capital plans as evaluated through the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR).

Key takeaways for the severely adverse scenario results include:

  • All firms exceeded minimum required capital under stress for the fourth year in a row.
  • This year’s test had a higher stress impact than previous years resulting in lower post-stress minimum capital levels, reversing an improving trend. The increase in stress was evidenced by:
    • Higher loss rates on loans (6.4% vs 5.8%)
    • Higher global market shock (GMS) losses (up 22%)2
    • Lower offsetting tax benefits in loss and recovery periods from the new tax law (32 basis points (bp) on risk-weighted assets (RWA) on average)
    • Declines in other comprehensive income (OCI) (30bp on RWA in aggregate)
  • These more stressful results were somewhat offset by lower growth in risk-weighted assets and higher pre-provision net revenue.
  • Impact from changes in law. In response to provisions in the recently passed regulatory relief legislation (S.2155, Economic Growth, Regulatory Reform, and Consumer Protection Act (“EGRRCPA”)), the Fed excluded the three firms below the $100 billion asset threshold3, and announced they would also exclude those firms from the CCAR results.
  • The supplementary leverage ratio was more constraining than last year. For most firms, post-stress supplemental leverage ratios were closer to minimum levels than last year and all firms exceeded the minimum ratio of 3.0 percent.

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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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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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Dealing with divergence

Despite the work that banks currently have underway from building regulatory infrastructure and processes to sustaining and streamlining them, one potential headwind is the threat of regulatory divergence in substance and timing across jurisdictions.  For banks with a global presence, divergence adds to uncertainty and complexity, fosters an unlevel playing field, and hampers the ability to plan and optimize resources.  Successfully navigating the many challenges of regulatory divergence requires a deliberate disciplined approach that recognizes the regional tailoring of regulatory and compliance initiatives, and that regulatory strategy and business strategy should converge.

The growing divergence in regulatory standards is a reversal of previous post-crisis trends.  For example, since 2009, banking regulators around the world have been committed to strengthening the capital, liquidity, and leverage standards for banks. Those efforts embedded an equally strong commitment to address the unevenness and complexity of the global capital framework for internationally-active banks. Regulatory convergence initiatives, such as Basel III and the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) work on resolution regimes, set the tone for an increasingly consistent banking rulebook across most jurisdictions.

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OCC requests comment on possible revisions to Volcker Rule

In the weeks following the 2016 Presidential election, members of the incoming Administration clearly expressed their views that certain aspects of Dodd-Frank, including the Volcker Rule, are overly complex.  Specifically, then-Treasury Secretary-nominee Steven Mnuchin argued that the “number one problem with the Volcker Rule is that it’s too complicated and people don’t know how to interpret it.”1

On June 12, 2017, the Treasury Department took a significant step on financial regulatory issues by releasing its first report pursuant to President Trump’s executive order setting forth “Core Principles” for regulating the US financial system.  Among other things, the report argues that the Volcker Rule requires “substantial amendment” and that its implementation has “hindered market-making functions necessary to ensure a healthy level of market liquidity.”2  Accordingly, the report proposes several changes—some of which could be implemented by the regulatory agencies and some of which would require Congressional action to amend the underlying statute—designed to “reduce the scope and complexity” of the rule.3

On August 2, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a notice and request for comment4 on whether certain aspects of the regulation implementing the Volcker Rule should be revised to “better accomplish the purposes of the statute” while decreasing the compliance burden on banking entities and fostering economic growth.

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CCAR: Reaching the summit

The Federal Reserve (“Fed”) released the results of its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) for 2017 on June 28.  Key Facts:

  • For the first time in CCAR’s seven-year history, the Fed did not object to any of the capital plans or capital distributions.
  • One firm, Capital One, was required to resubmit its capital plan to address certain capital planning process weaknesses.
  • The aggregate quantitative results were very similar to last year’s test, with all 34 firms exceeding required minimums.
  • Two firms, American Express and Capital One, adjusted their original requested capital distributions taking advantage of a so called “mulligan” to fine tune their capital levels.

The prior week’s release of the Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test (DFAST) results provided more detailed information on the Fed’s stress test.  Compared to CCAR, those results exclude buybacks and capital issuances and hold past common dividends constant.

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2017 Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test (DFAST): Our take

The Federal Reserve (“Fed”) released the results of its Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests (DFAST)1 that measure the potential impact of adverse or severely adverse economic conditions on the performance and condition of the 34 banks subject to the rule.  These results will be followed on June 28, 2017 by the Fed’s conclusions regarding the adequacy of bank capital plans as evaluated through the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR).

Key takeaways for the severely adverse scenario results include:

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