Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Live by the Sword. Die by the Sword. Part 1

How the Online Gamestop Crowd Missed the Big Picture

Author: David Schwartz

January's GameStop frenzy, where amateur online retail traders took what they hoped would be a rollicking joyride through the world of high finance, has left regulators scratching their heads about what to do next and the retail buccaneers themselves with quite a hangover. Some of the online buccaneers have made their next move clear and filed a class-action lawsuit against seemingly everyone who's anyone in the world of retail and wholesale securities trading. The lesson to take away from the GameStop frenzy may be that structures, securities finance markets, and participants reacted to the online investors' disruptive and provocative activity as they should have. Collusion or conspiracy was not necessary to prompt the built-in guardrails and circuit-breakers to engage. They could not have been expected to react otherwise. The online buccaneers have perhaps learned that what you don't know can, indeed, hurt you. And when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. 

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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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Monday, November 9, 2020

EU Tax Officials to Audit Securities Finance

Search for WHT Abusers Will Upend Regulatory Infrastructure

Author: Ed Blount

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has recommended that the market regulators in EU Member States combine trade data generated from the Securities Finance Transaction Regulation (SFTR) with local surveillance data so as to empower tax authorities to catch and indict tax abusers. To the abusers, that is like saying that the Sheriff and Posse are closing in on their SFTR trails.

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