Thursday, December 30, 2021

Digitized Finance Testing Approved by European Union

Buy-in Agreement clears the way for DLT Settlement Pilot

Author: David Schwartz J.D. CPA

The European Commission has reached agreement with legislators and financial trade groups on a digitized infrastructure to reshape the EU and, by extension, the global securities markets. The resolution affects all transactions involving EU securities, including securities loans, by (1) green-lighting the Distributed Ledger Pilot Regime, an effort to foster fintech innovation in the EU, and (2) delaying mandatory buy-ins, a highly contentious aspect of the ongoing sweeping reforms to the EU's securities settlement system. 

 

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

SEC Proposes Sweeping Securities Lending Disclosure Rules

Bringing Securities Lending Out of the Dark.

Author: David Schwartz J.D. CPA

On November 18, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed broad disclosure rules intended to "provide transparency in the securities lending market." As directed by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Commission proposed these rules to (1) supplement publicly available information, (2) close data gaps in the securities lending market, (3) minimize information asymmetries between market participants, and (5) provide market participants with access to pricing and other material information.

Further, the data elements proposed to be collected are intended to provide regulators with the information necessary to perform effective market surveillance. "This proposal would bring securities lending out of the dark," according to SEC Chair Gary Gensler. 

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Monday, November 8, 2021

Exposing the Rogue Traders

The Case for a Cross-Border Stock Loan Registry, Part II

Author: Ed Blount

Master Criminals don’t usually confess in public. If prosecutors’ charges are true, Sanjay Shah is the leading figure in the largest reported tax swindle in history. Yet, Mr. Shah, unbowed, pleading his case to reporters, has openly admitted to borrowing the assets of widows and orphans in one country to kick-start a pyramid scheme of dividend capture trades, so as to swindle widows and orphans in other countries. Mr. Shah’s attorneys argue that his trades were not illegal. Mr. Shah, according to the reporters, claims everything he did was legal, and then he appeals to the Law of the Jungle:

“If there’s a big sign on the street saying, ‘please help yourself’,
then me or somebody else would go and help themselves.”

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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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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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