International Role of the Euro

On December 5, 2018, the Commission adopted a Communication and a Recommendation on a stronger international role of the euro, following President’s Juncker State of the Union address in September 2018, in which he highlighted the strategic importance of the euro.

Since then, the Commission has run a series of consultations and stakeholder dialogues to determine the potential obstacles to a broader use of the euro. The consultation activities targeted stakeholders in the sectors of foreign exchange markets, energy, raw materials, agricultural commodities and transport. READ MORE

EMU: European Commission Publishes Reports on Progress

The European Commission has recently published the following documents, accompanied by a series of press releases and fact sheets:

  • Communication, Deepening Europe’s Economic Monetary Union (EMU): Taking stock four years after the Five Presidents’ Report.
  • Staff Working Document, Strengthening the International Role of the Euro, Results of the Consultations.

Related to these documents, the Commission published a Communication, Fourth Progress Report on the reduction of non-performing loans (NPLs) and further risk reduction in the Banking Union.

ESMA Publishes Final Report on Frequent Batch Auctions for Equity Instruments Under MIFID II

On June 11, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its final report (ESMA70-156-1035) following a call for evidence on frequent batch auctions, a type of periodic auction trading system for equity instruments under the MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (600/2014) (MiFIR). READ MORE

LIBOR Transition: Takeaways from the Benchmark Rates Series – Benchmark Rates Forum New York

 

Presenters at the Benchmark Rates Forum from Orrick, KPMG, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, NatWest Markets, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, TD Securities, RBS, Santander, Société Générale, UBS, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, the LSTA and Pendo Systems addressed a wide variety of market, legal and other LIBOR transition issues (some also discussed at the recent ARRC Roundtable – see Orrick Client Alert on Takeaways from the Roundtable). Uncertain timing of the transition, the remaining uncertainty as to the alternative benchmark to be chosen by the market and the continued lack of preparedness of large parts of the market were recurring themes in many of the presentations. Full Article.

SEC Adopts Rules and Interpretations to Enhance Protections and Preserve Choice for Retail Investors in Their Relationships with Financial Professionals

 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted and clarified a number of rules intended to improve the relationships between retail investors, investor advisers and broker-investors, while also maintaining retail investors’ access to investment services and products. Under Regulation Best Interest, broker-dealers must act in the best interest of a retail customer when recommending any securities transaction or investment strategy. The Form CRS Relationship Summary requires registered investment advisers and broker-dealers to provide retail investors with easily comprehensible information about their relationship with their financial professional. Lastly, the SEC clarified investment advisers’ fiduciary duties and the activities that trigger a broker-dealer to be considered an investor adviser under the Advisers Act. Press Release. For further detail on the subject, read an analysis from Orrick’s Securities Litigation team here.

OCC Extends Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test Requirements Through November 25

 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that the deadline to comply with Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test (DFAST) requirements will be extended to November 25, and thereafter will be discontinued. The OCC believes that sufficient stress testing programs have been adopted and integrated into the risk management policies of banks and federal savings institutions to which the DFAST rules apply. Press Release.

FHFA Sues Wells Fargo Regarding Underwriting of RMBS

 

On June 3, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (Wells Fargo) (as successor to Wachovia Capital Markets, LLC (Wachovia)), alleging a violation of Section 11 of the Securities Act. FHFA’s lawsuit alleges losses resulting from Wachovia’s underwriting of two NovaStar securitizations purchased in 2006. FHFA alleges that Freddie Mac was misled about the quality of the loans in the bond deals, and that Wachovia, which Wells Fargo acquired in 2008, participated in drafting the registration statements at issue. These registration statements allegedly contained material misstatements and omissions. FHFA further alleges that its claims are timely because of various tolling agreements entered into between FHFA, Freddie Mac and Wells Fargo. The two deals at issue in FHFA’s Complaint are among six securitizations subject to a $165 million class-action settlement between investors and underwriters, including Wells Fargo, from 2017. FHFA has made multiple unsuccessful bids to be excluded from the settlement, including an appeal that the Second Circuit denied in January of this year, where it argued that the settlement would infringe on the agency’s statutorily-authorized conservatorship powers. FHFA has since filed another appeal, which the agency contends permits it to pursue the claims in this Complaint against Wells Fargo.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On June 5, Fitch published a methodology for U.S. RMBS Seasoned and Reperforming Loans. Methodology.

On June 4, Fitch published a methodology for APAC Residential Mortgages. Methodology.

On June 3, Moody’s published its updated methodology for Resecuritizations. Methodology.

On May 31, Fitch published its updated methodology for European RMBS. Methodology.

On May 31, Fitch published a methodology for EMEA CMBS and CRE Loans. Methodology.

On May 31, S&P published its updated methodology for Global Equipment ABS. Methodology.

On May 30, Moody’s published its updated methodology for Reverse Mortgage Securitizations. Methodology.

Agencies Issue Final Rule Regarding the Treatment of Certain Municipal Obligations as High-Quality Liquid Assets

 

The federal bank regulatory agencies issued a final rule requiring that certain municipal obligations be treated as high-quality liquid assets if the municipal obligation is “liquid and readily marketable” and “investment grade” under the liquidity coverage ratio rules. Press Release.