Ashley Halvorsen

Associate

Los Angeles


Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Ashley Halvorsen is an associate in the Structured Finance group in the Los Angeles office.

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Posts by: Ashley Halvorsen

Treasury Releases Final Regulations to Reform National Security Reviews for Certain Foreign Investments and Other Transactions in the United States

 

On January 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued two final regulations that aim to modernize the investment review process to address national security issues posed by certain foreign investments and real estate transactions. The regulations implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) and broaden the authority of the CFIUS to review even non-controlling foreign investments into U.S. businesses that are involved in critical technology, infrastructure, or personal data. Release.

 

Federal Bank Regulatory Agencies Issue Final Rule on Treatment of High Volatility Commercial Real Estate

 

On November 19, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) implemented a final rule addressing high volatility commercial real estate (HVCRE).  The rule aims to clarify the definition of HVCRE exposure and the treatment of credit facilities financing one- to four-family residential properties and land development. Banking institutions will have the option to maintain their current capital treatment for acquisition, development or construction loans originated between January 1, 2015 and the effective date of the final rule on April 1, 2020. FDIC ReleaseFRB ReleaseOCC Release.

 

Agencies Finalize Changes to Supplementary Leverage Ratio as Required by EGRRCPA

 

On November 19, the OCC, the FDIC and the FRB finalized changes that affect a capital requirement for banking organizations performing custodial activities under the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA). The EGRRCPA allows banking organizations performing custodial activities to exclude qualifying deposits at certain central banks from their supplementary leverage ratio, with the primary aim to fortify financial stability within the banking system. The rule will be effective on April 1, 2020. FDIC ReleaseFRB ReleaseOCC Release.

 

 

Federal Bank Regulatory Agencies Finalize Rule to Update Calculation of Counterparty Credit Risk for Derivative Contracts

 

On November 19, the OCC, the FDIC and the FRB published a final rule that implements a “standardized approach for measuring counterparty credit risk,” that banking organizations must follow with respect to derivative contracts. This methodology is intended to better reflect the current derivatives market. The final rule will be effective on April 1, 2020. FDIC ReleaseFRB ReleaseOCC Release.

 

SDNY Denies Royal Park’s Request to Sample in RMBS Trustee Suit

 

On November 18, Judge Gregory H. Woods of the Southern District of New York denied plaintiff investor Royal Park Investments SA/NV’s (Royal Park) motion to allow Royal Park to engage sampling experts to perform analyses on samples of loans to extrapolate information about the quality of those loans to all the loans in the trusts. Royal Park brought breach of contract, breach of the duty of trust, and violations of the Trust Indenture Act (TIA) claims against Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM) as trustee for loans included in five RMBS that allegedly breached the representations and warranties made in the governing agreements. Royal Park sought to use sampling to find a breach rate that Royal Park would argue that BNYM would have uncovered if it had reasonably investigated each trust at issue. Judge Woods found that Royal Park had not established, as a threshold matter, that BNYM had a duty to investigate the quality of the loans as a prudent trustee. Therefore, under FRCP 26, which limits discovery where “the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit,” the extensive costs both parties would incur to perform sampling-related expert discovery was not proportional to the needs of the case. Though, unlike other decisions in lawsuits against RMBS trustees, this decision did not go so far as to conclude that Royal Park must prove its damages on a loan-by-loan basis. Rather, Judge Wood ruled that sampling would only be cost-effective if Royal Park proves BNYM had a duty to investigate the collateral and noted that because discovery is ongoing it may still put forth sufficient evidence to support its theory. Royal Park Decision.

CFPB Issues Interpretative Rule on Screening and Training Requirements for Mortgage Loan Originators

 

On November 15, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) implemented an interpretive rule that clarifies that financial institutions that employ loan originators are not obligated to screen and train loan originators with temporary authority. Instead, the state is responsible for any necessary screening or training of these originators. The rule will be effective on November 24. CFPB Release.

SEC Adopts New Rules and Amendments under Title VII of Dodd-Frank

 

On September 19, the SEC adopted new rules and amendments under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act establishing recordkeeping and reporting requirements for security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants, and amending those requirements for broker-dealers.  The new rules aim to allow the SEC to better monitor compliance and reduce risk to the market. Release.

The FCA Reclassifies Cryptoassets, But Is It Moving Away From Its Technology Neutral Approach?

 

On August 5, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released final guidance on cryptoassets in a policy statement that includes feedback from their January consultation paper. It is important to note that the policy statement is of a limited scope and focuses on whether different types of cryptoassets fall within the regulatory perimeter of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) and Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (EMRs). While the policy statement does touch upon the use of cryptoassets for payment services, prospectus requirements and anti-money laundering issues, it does not provide much new guidance on these areas. Read the full Orrick-authored article here.

FDIC Annual Publication Examines Potential Credit and Market Risks

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) published its annual review of the primary risk factors facing the banking system, focusing on the categories of credit risk and market risk. The key credit risk identified by the FDIC is increased competition among lenders as loan growth has slowed, posing risk management challenges given market demand for higher-yielding leveraged loan and corporate bond products, resulting in looser underwriting standards. The main market risk recognized in the report is the current interest rate environment. Release. Report.

Agencies Complete Resolution Plan Evaluations and Extend Deadline for Certain Firms

 

The Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC completed their evaluation of 82 foreign banks’ 2018 resolution plans, which describe a company’s strategy for rapid and orderly resolution in the event of bankruptcy. In light of proposed resolution plan rule changes, the agencies also extended the deadline to file their next resolutions plans to 2021 for these 82 foreign banks and 15 additional domestic banks. Release. Joint Release.