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

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.

CFPB Releases Qualified Mortgage ANPR

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is soliciting comments on possible amendments to the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM) Rule. In particular, the CFPB is considering revising the current definition of a qualified mortgage under the Truth in Lending Act to use alternative methods to debt-to-income ratio to measure a consumer’s financial capacity. These considerations are prompted by the January 2021 expiration of rules in which certain mortgage loans eligible for purchase or guarantee by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, which do not otherwise meet the debt-to-income ratio requirements, fall under the current definition of qualified mortgage. Release.

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.