Friday, September 24, 2021

Reddit Trading and Resilience in U.S. Equity Finance

Part 4. ESMA expands short sale disclosures and rules for borrower locates

Author: Ed Blount

Paris, September 24, 2021 - The next shoe has fallen in reaction to the January 2021 GameStop short squeeze, by which certain online brokers interpreted clearinghouse rules to necessitate suspension of their retail customers’ ability to buy “meme stocks." Today, the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA), citing SEC and EU data for January 2021 on suspiciously high levels of failed meme stock settlements, asked for public comment on rule changes to avoid future short squeezes. This ESMA consultation on systemic risk management will surely propel industry leaders to advance their previously-announced plans for a block-chained securities market infrastructure, so as to add even more robust operating and disclosure protocols.

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Friday, September 3, 2021

Central Clearing for Securities Lending

DTCC Gambles that If They Build it, they Will Come.

Author: David Schwartz J.D. CPA

DTCC has applied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to launch a securities finance clearing service. DTCC's fixed income arm, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), spearheads the central clearing initiative, touting the numerous efficiency benefits to clearing customers, including increased capital efficiency for both borrowers and agent lenders and a reduction in counterparty risk by novating to NSCC the completion of settlement obligations.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Unweaving a Tangled Web

Another Reason to Map Securities Loans

Author: Ed Blount

The German Federal Court of Justice's decision two weeks ago to prosecute as criminals anyone who abused dividend arbitrage trades anytime over the previous 25 years is bad news for everyone in the securities lending community. The German tax authorities' new determination to conduct sweeps of securities loans that span dividend record dates should in particular sound the alarm for institutional securities lenders, especially if it presages a new trend among regulators.

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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Germany Throws the Book at Tax Criminals

Cross-border Securities Loans Targeted by EU Tax Auditors

Author: David Schwartz J.D. CPA

German courts and regulators have put securities lenders on notice that cross-border withholding tax (WHT) reclaim "schemes" are now "crimes." Recent developments in Germany have cleared the way for sweeping tax audits and potential criminal prosecutions of borrowers and lenders reaching back 25 years. The so-called "cum-ex" trades have been a focus of European regulators, particularly in Germany and Denmark, whose treasuries have been hit hardest by these trades. Lenders are being advised that there is new potential for legal and criminal jeopardy attached to cum-ex securities lending transactions and that principals and their service providers should be ready for heightened scrutiny.

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Friday, June 11, 2021

Apple Sauce or Orange Juice?

The Inadequacy of Existing Databases in Securities Finance

Author: Ed Blount

Databases designed for specific purposes often fail when asked to solve a different problem. As an example, the securities finance databases of leading data providers such as FIS Astec, Datalend, and IHS Markit, designed more than 20 years ago for performance benchmarking, are inadequate when queried for the purpose of the loans themselves. Even regulatory databases enriched with new SFTR filings can only help supervisors monitor leverage based on end-of-day positions, and are unable to determine the propriety of the loans without mapped flow data.

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