CFTC Extends Time-Limited No-Action Relief for Swap Execution Facilities from Certain “Block Trade” Requirements

On November 2nd, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) extended no-action relief to Swap Execution Facilities (“SEFs”)  from the “occurs away” requirement in the definition of “block trade” under CFTC regulation Section 43.2. The definition of “block trade” includes publicly reportable swap transactions that occur, “away from the registered [SEF’s] or [Designated Contract Market’s] trading system or platform and is executed pursuant to the registered [SEF’s] or [Designated Contract Market’s] rules and procedures”. CFTC Letter 15-60 extends no-action relief from the “occurs away” requirement through November 15, 2016Press ReleaseCFTC Letter 15-60.

CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight Provides Additional Time to Comply with Electronic Reporting Requirements in the OCR Final Rule

On September 28, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (the “Commission”) Division of Market Oversight issued a no-action letter that provides reporting parties additional time to comply with certain reporting requirements of the ownership and control final rule.  The rule requires reporting parties to electronically submit trader identification and market participant data on new and updated forms.  These forms allow for better identification of participants in futures and swaps markets.  Providing reporting parties with additional time is aimed at improving the reliability and consistency of data provided to the Commission.  The no-action letter extends relief to dates ranging from April 27, 2016 to February 13, 2017.  Press Release.

BCBS Consults on Proposed Revised Version of General Guide to Account Opening

On July 16, 2015, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) issued a consultation paper on a proposed revised version of its general guide to account opening.

The guide was first published in February 2003. The proposed revised version takes into account the significant enhancements that have been made to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and related guidance since it was first published.

The guide focuses on account opening. It is not intended to address every possible situation, but instead focuses on some of the mechanisms that banks can use in developing an effective customer identification and verification program that enables them to meet their obligations under anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) requirements. The guide also sets out the information that should be gathered at the time of account opening and will help the bank to complete the customer risk profile. The aim is to support banks in implementing the FATF standards and guidance, which require the adoption of specific policies and procedures, in particular on account opening.

When finalized, the revised version of the guide will be added as an annex to the BCBS’ guidelines for a sound management of risks related to money laundering and financing of terrorism, which were published in January 2014.

SEC Adopts Final Reg AB II Rules

Orrick’s Structured Finance Group published a summary of the final Regulation AB II rules adopted by the SEC on August 27, 2014.  The new and amended rules govern the registration, offering process, disclosure and reporting for SEC registered asset-backed securities.  The summary is available here and the final rules are available here.  

SEC Proposes New Rule on Communications Involving Security-Based Swaps

On September 8, the SEC proposed a new rule that certain communications involving security-based swaps that may be purchased only by eligible contract participants will not be deemed for purposes of Section 5 of the Securities Act to constitute offers of such security-based swaps or any guarantees of such security-based swaps.  Comments should be received by the SEC on or before November 10, 2014.   Proposed Rule.  

Trustee’s Repurchase Suit Against Quicken Loans Dismissed as Time-Barred

On August 4, Judge Paul A. Crotty of the Southern District of New York granted Quicken Loans’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (as Trustee of the GSR 2007-OA1 trust), alleging that Quicken breached its obligation to repurchase defective mortgage loans.  Following the First Department’s decision in ACE Securities, Judge Crotty held that the six year statute of limitations for breach of contract began to accrue when Quicken allegedly breached the representations and warranties at issue�at the time the loans were sold�not when the Trustee demanded repurchase.  He rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the lawsuit was timely because the contract at issue included a so-called “accrual” provision, which specified that the Trustee’s cause of action for repurchase would accrue upon (1) notice of breach (2) failure to cure the breach and (3) Plaintiff’s demand for cure.  The court held that the accrual provision could not alter the six-year limitations period because parties cannot agree in advance to extend the statute of limitations before any claims have accrued.  Opinion and Order.

New Plaintiffs’ Claims Dismissed From Morgan Stanley MBS Class Action

On May 27, Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York granted Morgan Stanley’s motion for reconsideration and dismissed as time-barred claims brought by certain named plaintiffs (the New Plaintiffs) first added to the case more than a year after it was originally filed.  The New Plaintiffs, several banks and pension funds, asserted claims under Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 but did so after the expiration of the three-year statute of repose applicable to such claims.  In September 2011, Judge Swain originally held that the claims were nonetheless timely under the American Pipe tolling doctrine, which holds that the statute of limitations for an absent class member’s individual claim is tolled during the pendency of a putative class action.  In 2013, however, the Second Circuit in In re IndyMac Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation, 721 F.3d 95 (2d Cir. 2013), held that American Pipe tolling applies to statutes of limitations, but does not apply to statutes of repose.  (As discussed in the March 17, 2014, Week in Review, the Supreme Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in the IndyMac case to resolve the applicability of American Pipe to statutes of repose; the case remains pending).  Upon reconsideration in light of the Second Circuit’s IndyMac decision, Judge Swain held that the New Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the applicable statute of repose.  She rejected the New Plaintiffs’ attempt to rely on relation back under Rule 15 or joinder under Rule 17(a), finding those rules equally inapplicable to avoid statutes of repose as American Pipe tolling.  Order.

Extension of FATCA Withholding Start Date and Grandfathering End Date

On July 12, Treasury and the IRS announced that they intend to amend final Treasury regulations implementing the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to provide for a six-month extension to the start of FATCA withholding and the end of the FATCA grandfathering period, from January 1, 2014 (under current regulations) to July 1, 2014, in order to allow for a more orderly implementation of FATCA.  In addition, the timelines for implementing certain FATCA account due diligence requirements and FATCA registration requirements are to be extended, and Treasury and the IRS will provide a list of jurisdictions that will be treated as having in effect an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the U.S.  FATCA withholding is scheduled to apply to payments of U.S. source dividends, interest and other fixed payments beginning July 1, 2014, and to payments from the disposition of property producing such payments beginning January 1, 2017.  IRS Notice 2013-43.

Federal Court Rules that Insurer May Prevail on its Representation and Warranty Claims Without Proving that the Breaches Caused Loans to Default

On September 25, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York issued a written opinion denying summary judgment in Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp.’s contract dispute with Flagstar Bank FSB over its insurance policies on nearly $1 billion in mortgage-backed securities backed by home equity loans.  Assured initiated this action in April 2011, alleging that Flagstar breached representations and warranties concerning the underwriting guidelines used to originate the mortgages, the credit characteristics of the loans, and the absence of negligence or fraud in the origination process.  Assured alleges that many of the loans have defaulted, resulting in $82.4 million in claims paid to date.  In denying Flagstar’s summary judgment motion, Judge Rakoff found that Assured need not demonstrate loss causation – that is, that the representation and warranty breach caused the loan to default and caused Assured to suffer damages – but rather that Assured could prevail if it proves that the representation and warranty breach materially increased the risk of loss to Assured.  Trial in this matter is scheduled for October 9.  Judge Rakoff’s ruling is similar to that of Judge Paul Crotty in Syncora Guarantee Inc. v. EMC Mortgage Corp., a decision covered in the June 25 issue of the Week in Review.  Order.