Traditions

Financial practices before the invention of computers were conducted with reliance upon tangible forms of security and personal insights into the character of those who were pledging collateral. By examining the practices by which business was conducted at those times it is possible to understand the traditions upon which today’s business should be conducted. In this section we review passages from contemporaneous textbooks which describe those traditions that are most relevant for the management of today’s financial market evolution.


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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

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 and 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. (No kidding. What did they think? So if the abusers haven’t created defenses by this time, it’s already too late.) To the legitimate lenders, it’s like, ok, can I work within these new rules? Institutional lenders will ask, "What effect does it have on my lending income?" Their agents will ask, "What effect will this have on my and career, especially if my firm cannot meet the higher disclosure standards implied by the prospect of tax audits?

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Regulators Want ESG Funds to Justify their Strategies

Author: David Schwartz

Today the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final rules clarifying the regulatory guideposts for fiduciaries of private-sector retirement and other employee benefit plans in light of recent trends involving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. The DOL is not the only regulator with ESG funds in their cross-hairs. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun verifying asset managers’ and mutual funds’ ESG strategies through examination and is considering amending the mutual fund “name test rule” to ensure funds are living up to their ESG promises to shareholders.

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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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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Governance in the Age of Financial Crises

Use Cases from 2008: General Motors and ING

Author: Ed Blount

In the coming corporate bankruptcy crisis, banks and companies perceived as bad actors in society will find their resolution terms to be very harsh. To avoid being diluted or even wiped out, large shareholders and corporate boards of directors must be constantly vigilant in exercising their oversight duties. Stakeholders must enforce policies which require company management to act in a socially responsible fashion.

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