Traditions

Before the invention of computers, financial practices were conducted with reliance upon tangible forms of security and personal insights into the character of those who were pledging collateral. Digitization of securities, currencies and recordkeeping has created new traditions, with new regulations. Examining the evolution of financial market traditions over time helps us understand how we should conduct business in the 21st Century realm of digital innovations like blockchain and distributed ledgers.


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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

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 to help authorities monitor leverage, are unable to determine the propriety of the loans.

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Monday, June 7, 2021

RESTORING TRUST IN MARKETS: RMA Podcast Series

Creating ESG Models to Change Negative Views of Financial Markets

Author: Ed Blount

Good morning, this is Ed Blount and I am speaking to you from the Center for the Study of Financial Market Evolution here in Washington, D.C. I've been asked by my good friends at the Risk Management Association, RMA, just up the road in Philadelphia, to offer some thoughts on "how data-based models can be used to change the negative views of financial markets that are held by some bank customers and regulators, especially in the wake of the pandemic."  So, that is an interesting question.

I'm going to approach the answer in two parts:

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Saturday, May 22, 2021

Get Your ESG House in Order

Here Come the Regulators.

Author: David Schwartz

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing has taken global financial markets by storm over the last few years. Post-pandemic, the demand for ESG investments has only intensified and has proven to be much more durable than a fad. However, lack of consistency and transparency threatens the trustworthiness of ESG as a category, and has led to accusations of 'greenwashing.'  As a result, US regulators and their counterparts in the EU and UK have begun building regulatory and enforcement momentum, focusing on the quality and accuracy of ESG disclosures by asset managers and investment funds. Accounting and other standard setters have joined their regulatory brethren in calling for consistency in financial and non-financial ESG reporting.

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