Friday, April 23, 2021

Fund Advisers Brace for ESG Scrutiny

SEC to Mandate More Public Disclosure of Proxy Votes

Author: David Schwartz
After nearly twenty years of study, the Securities and Exchange Commission seems poised to rewrite the rules on proxy disclosure for mutual funds. Two SEC commissioners predicted within days of each other that there will be radical revisions to how regulated investment companies will report their proxy voting behavior. Both Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee and Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw said in separate speeches last month that the SEC's current proxy reporting form is not meeting the needs of investors. Shareholders, they said, need more and better proxy voting information to evaluate whether fund managers are sticking to the fund's stated proxy policies, especially funds that have made commitments to ESG principles. 
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Monday, February 1, 2021

An Existential Moment for Securities Finance

Gamestop and the Debate about the Clearing System

Author: Ed Blount

Feb 1, 2021: The social controversy over Gamestop’s (GME) battle of wills — r/wallstreetbets v 'The Shorts' — may well harden the scrutiny of regulators and litigators toward the US$2.4 trillion global equity finance ecosystem that supports hedge fund strategies. This is a pivotal moment, not only for GME and The Shorts, but also for the clearing systems that their lenders and agents use to secure the funds' trade settlements and financings. 

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Banking Leaders set to Control 'Shadow Exposures'

Supply Chains in Securities Finance to be Clarified and Stabilized

Author: David Schwartz

Shadow banking is history, say banking leaders, a thing of the past. New compliance and risk management systems based on the Securities Finance Transaction Regulation (SFTR) and the industry’s evolving Common Domain Model (CDM) will enable financial service providers to regulate their clients' exposure to counterparties with far more specificity than ever before possible. Originally accepted as a regulatory imposition, bankers are now viewing the SFTR reports of their loan principals as a platform to help state pension funds and others meet their ESG and tax compliance goals with unprecedented precision — along with proof of funding.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Squaring ESG with Securities Lending

Compliance without Knowing the Borrower's Purpose - Is it Possible?

Author: David Schwartz

Sustainable investing is becoming more important to investors when creating portfolios. As a result, institutions often follow policies with formal environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors to guide their investments. They commit substantial resources to ESG research and produce comprehensive reports about their compliance.[1] But then the same institutions give away their proxy votes when they lend securities for fees to cover their bank charges. And the loans of those securities – and their proxies – go to borrowers with unknown intentions, and often with unknown identities.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Alarm Raised on Stock Loans for "Withholding Tax Schemes”

Findings Point to a New Role for Emerging Fintech

Author: David Schwartz

European commissioners are reviewing a study from their securities and market authority (ESMA) that includes a recommendation for new laws to combat unfair trading practices and an extended remit for National Competent Authorities (NCAs) to conduct snap audits of securities loans and transactors. Loans deemed to be suspicious would prompt an inquiry to determine penalties for unfair strategies and inappropriate beneficiaries. However, useful audit results may be doubtful based on our preliminary review that uncovered shortcomings in the proposed SFTR surveillance datasets, as well as possible flaws in the study’s basic methodology. 

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