Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve Seeks Comments on LIBOR Alternatives

 

On August 24, 2017, the U.S. Federal Reserve requested public comments on a plan for the New York Federal Reserve and the Office of Financial Research to come up with three reference rates based on U.S. Treasuries-backed repurchase agreements (repos). The proposed rates are to be called:

  • Tri-party General Collateral Rate (TGCR)
  • Broad General Collateral Rate (BGCR)
  • Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR)

The most comprehensive of the rates, SOFR, would be a broad measure of overnight Treasury financing transactions and was selected by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) as a U.S. dollar LIBOR alternative. LIBOR is a benchmark for $350 trillion worth of financial products worldwide, including $150 trillion in derivatives.

Public comments on these proposed rates are requested within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly, according to a Federal Reserve Board press release. To read the press release, click here.

Federal Banking Agencies Propose Extension of Certain Capital Rule Transitions

 

On August 22, 2017, in preparation for a forthcoming proposal that would simplify regulatory capital requirements, federal banking regulators proposed a rule that would extend the existing transitional capital treatment for certain regulatory capital deductions and risk weights. The extension would apply to banking organizations that are not subject to the agencies’ advanced approach to capital rules, which are generally those with less than $250 billion in total consolidated assets and less than $10 billion in total foreign exposure. Comments on this proposal will be accepted for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. FDIC Press Release. Federal Reserve Press Release. OCC Press Release. Proposal.

Agencies Publish Study on Banking Activities and Investments under Dodd-Frank

 

On September 8, 2016, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a report detailing activities and investments that banking entities may engage in under state and federal law.

Pursuant to section 620 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), which requires the trio of federal banking agencies to conduct the study and report their findings to Congress, the report considers financial, operational, managerial and reputational risks associated with the permissible activities or investments and how banking entities work to mitigate those risks.

Each agency also offers specific recommendations regarding whether an activity or investment could harm the overall safety and soundness of the banking entity or broader financial system and any additional restrictions necessary to curb any such potential risks. Press release. Report.

Agencies Finalize Rule Exempting Certain Commercial and Financial End Users from Initial and Variation Margin Requirements

On August 1, 2016, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Farm Credit Administration announced a final rule that contains certain exemptions for “certain commercial and financial end users from margin requirements for certain swaps not cleared through a clearinghouse.”  The rule implemented without any changes the interim final rule from November 2015. Press Release. Press Release. Press Release. Press Release.

Federal Reserve Announces Extension of Conformance Period under Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act

On July 7, 2016, the Federal Reserve announced that it will extend until July 21, 2017 the conformance period for banking entities to divest ownership in certain legacy investment funds and terminate relationships with funds that are prohibited under Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, commonly known as the Volcker Rule. The Board had announced in December 2014 that it would make this extension to provide for orderly divestitures and to prevent market disruptions. This is the final of the three one-year extensions that the Board is authorized to grant.

In making this announcement, the Federal Reserve emphasized that: “This extension would permit banking entities additional time to divest or conform only ‘legacy covered fund’ investments, such as prohibited investments in hedge funds and private equity funds that were made prior to December 31, 2013. This extension does not apply to investments in and relationships with a covered fund made after December 31, 2013 or to proprietary trading activities; banking entities were required to conform those activities to the final rule by July 21, 2015.”

The Federal Reserve also noted that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission: “plan to administer their oversight of banking entities under their respective jurisdictions in accordance with the Board’s conformance rule and this extension of the conformance period.”

Finally, the Board noted that: “upon the application of a banking entity, the Board is permitted under section 619 to provide up to an additional five years to conform investments in certain illiquid funds, where the banking entity had a contractual commitment to invest in the fund as of May 1, 2010.” Release.

Federal Reserve Updates Risk Management Supervisory Guidance for Smaller FBOs

On June 8, 2016, the Federal Reserve updated its Supervisory Guidance that partially supersedes SR letter 95-51, “Rating the Adequacy of Risk Management and Internal Controls at State Member Banks and Bank Holding Companies.”  The guidance clarifies Board and senior management oversight of risk management, policies, procedures and limits, risk monitoring and MIS, and internal controls.  One revision extends the applicability of the guidance to the U.S. operations of foreign banking organizations with total consolidated U.S. assets of less than $50 billion (such as ISP), which were not previously subject to SR 95- 51. The guidance notes, however, that FBO risk management processes and control functions for the U.S. operations may be implemented domestically or outside of the U.S. and in cases where the functions are performed outside of the U.S., the FBO’s oversight function, policies and procedures, and information systems need to be sufficiently transparent to allow U.S. supervisors to assess their adequacy.

Additionally, the FBO’s U.S. senior management need to demonstrate and maintain a thorough understanding of all relevant risks affecting the U.S. operations and the associated management information systems, used to manage and monitor these risks within the U.S. operations.  With respect to Board responsibilities, the guidance states in a footnote: “For the purpose of this guidance, for foreign banking organizations, ‘board of directors’ refers to the equivalent governing body of the U.S. operations of the FBO.”

The guidance goes on further to state that:

The board of directors should collectively have a balance of skills, knowledge, and experience to clearly understand the activities and risks to which the institution is exposed.  The board of directors should take steps to develop an appropriate understanding of the risks the institution faces, through briefings from experts internal to their organization and potentially from external experts.  The institution’s management information systems should provide the board of directors with sufficient information to identify the size and significance of the risks.  Using this knowledge and information, the board of directors should provide clear guidance regarding the level of exposures acceptable to the institution and oversee senior management’s implementation of the procedures and controls necessary to comply with approved policies, the guidance states.

Agencies Extend Deadline for Certain Foreign Banking Organizations’ Resolution Plan Submissions

On June 8, 2016, the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation extended the deadline for Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank AG, and UBS to present their upcoming resolution plans to July 1, 2017, as a result of these entities engaging in restructuring in order to be in “compliance with the Federal Reserve Board’s Intermediate Holding Company (IHC) requirement[.]” Press releasePress release.

Agencies Propose Net Stable Funding Ratio Rule

On May 3, 2016, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed a rule, the net stable funding ratio (the “NSFR”), to strengthen banks by requiring them to maintain a minimum level of stable funding relative to the liquidity of their assets, derivatives and commitments over a one-year period.  The most stringent of the NSFR’s requirements would apply to, among others, banking organizations with $250 billion or more in total consolidated assets.  The NSFR would become effective January 1, 2018.  ReleaseProposed Rule.

The Federal Reserve Board Issues Final Rule Adopting Amendments to the Board’s Regulatory Capital Rules for Non-Traditional Stock Corporations

On December 4, 2015, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board”) issued a final rule adopting amendments to the Board’s regulatory capital framework (“Regulation Q”) that was issued in June 2013. The final rule provides examples of how to apply the framework to depository institution holding companies that are not organized as traditional stock corporations and how instruments issued by such firms may qualify as regulatory capital. The final rule also issued a temporary exclusion from Regulation Q for savings and loan holding companies that are trusts and depository institution holding companies that are employee stock ownership plans – until the Board can propose appropriate rules for such entities. In addition, the Board extended the applicable compliance date with the revised capital framework to July 1, 2016. The final rule will take effect on January 1, 2016. Press Release. Final Rule.

Fed Announces Dates of Stress Test Releases

On February 12, the Fed announced that results from the latest supervisory stress tests conducted as part of Dodd-Frank will be released on March 5, and the related results from the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, will be released on March 11.  Results for both exercises will be released at 4:30 p.m.  Release.