United States

Iranian sanctions re-imposed and in full effect

As of November 5, 2018, all of the US sanctions that were lifted or waived in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2016 nuclear deal among the United States and its allies and Iran, have been re-imposed and are in full effect. As a result, non-US companies can be subject to … Continue Reading

What auditors need to know about the blockchain

Yet another U.S. regulator has weighed in on the use of the blockchain. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a nonprofit corporation established by the U.S. Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate and independent audit reports. The PCAOB … Continue Reading

Alibaba successful in temporarily shutting down third party using its name to sell “AlibabaCoin”

On October 22, 2018, a U.S. federal trial court in Manhattan granted web services conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s request for a preliminary injunction against several defendants that were offering cryptocurrency for sale, under the name “AlibabaCoin.” (Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. v. Alibabacoin Foundation, No. 18-CV-2897 (JPO) (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 22, 2018) Although neither Alibaba nor … Continue Reading

Conference of State Bank Supervisors files Federal lawsuit to stop OCC fintech charter

On October 25, 2018, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (“CSBS”) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) seeking to stop the OCC from issuing any special-purpose national bank charters to financial technology companies that do not receive deposits … Continue Reading

The last SIFI falls

On October 17, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) had lifted its designation of Prudential Financial Inc. as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI). The decision was unanimous, with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Elad Roisman voting on delegated authority due to the recusal of SEC Chair … Continue Reading

CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz warns smart contract code developers may be held liable for violations of CFTC regulations

On October 16, 2018, Commissioner Brian Quintenz of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) shared his views on smart contract regulation by the CFTC. In his speech at the 38th Annual GITEX Technology Week Conference, in discussing a hypothetical where code in a smart contract was specifically designed to enable a type of activity regulated … Continue Reading

Can cryptocurrency be used to post bail?

An interesting issue arose recently when a defendant was arrested on federal charges of stealing $342,000 worth of digital assets, and tried to post bond using cryptocurrency. Sue Ross has written a post for our Brand Protection Blog that includes a discussion of the case and whether the FBI permitted the defendant to post bail … Continue Reading

CFTC announces proposed rule to streamline certain regulations for commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors

On October 9, 2018, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) proposed changes to the registration and compliance obligations for commodity pool operators (“CPOs”) and commodity trading advisors (“CTAs”) consistent with relief currently provided by various staff letters and advisories. Comments are due sixty (60) days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. … Continue Reading

Regulators bring enforcement actions against 1pool Ltd.

On September 27, 2018, both the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) filed charges against Marshall Islands-based firm 1pool Ltd. (“1pool”) and its Austria-based CEO and owner, Patrick Brunner, for (i) failing to register as a security-based swaps dealer with the SEC, (ii) failing to register as a futures … Continue Reading

CFTC Chair hails the accomplishments of the past year’s enforcement program

On October 2, 2018, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo spoke before the Economic Club of Minnesota, giving a detailed overview of the CFTC’s enforcement program for fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 2017 – Sept. 2018), entitling his remarks “Regulatory Enforcement & Healthy Markets: Perfect Together!” The CFTC’s enforcement program filed 83 actions … Continue Reading

CFTC’s Giancarlo’s Cross-Border White Paper 2.0 signals upcoming rule proposals to replace cross-border guidance

On October 1, 2018, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC”) Chairman, J. Christopher Giancarlo released a White Paper entitled, “Cross-Border Swaps Regulation Version 2.0: A Risk-Based Approach with Deference to Comparable Non-U.S. Regulation” (“Cross-Border White Paper 2.0”). Chairman Giancarlo intends to direct the CFTC staff to put forth new rule proposals, which if adopted, would … Continue Reading

New York Attorney General issues report on cryptocurrency platforms

On September 18, 2018, the New York State Attorney General issued a 32- page report on its findings on the state of cryptocurrency platforms with respect to consumer protections. The Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative Report summarizes the results of the New York Attorney General’s April 2018 survey sent to 13 cryptocurrency platforms, including some located … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrencies held subject to US federal securities laws

For the first time, a US federal court has ruled that in appropriate circumstances cryptocurrencies can be subject to the provisions of US securities laws. In U.S. v. Zaslavskiy, No. 1:17-cr-00647, slip op., 2018 WL 4346339 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 11, 2018), Judge Raymond Dearie of the Eastern District of New York upheld a criminal indictment for … Continue Reading

Latest issue of Global Asset Management Quarterly now available

The tenth edition of our Global Asset Management Quarterly is now available. You can also register to automatically receive each issue as it is released. This publication highlights key developments that will be of interest to, and affect, our asset management clients, including market trends and developments in tax and buy-side regulation globally. Articles in … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Financial Services again sues OCC over bank charter for fintechs

On September 14, 2018, New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) Superintendent Maria T. Vullo filed a lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) in connection with the OCC’s recent decision to begin accepting applications from nondepository financial technology companies (“fintechs”) for special purpose national bank charters (the OCC’s “Fintech … Continue Reading

US federal banking agencies issue final regulations promulgating use of municipal obligations for LCR compliance

Late last month, the US federal banking agencies (the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), collectively, the “banking agencies”) issued an interim final rule that implements section 403 of the recently enacted “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” (the “Act”), to … Continue Reading

CFPB finalizes GLBA privacy rule exemption

On August 10, 2018, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “Bureau”) announced that it had finalized amendments to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”) regulations implementing a statutory change that provides an exemption for certain financial institutions from the GLBA requirement to deliver an annual privacy notice to their customers. As discussed in our post from … Continue Reading

CFTC proposes process on exempting non-US derivative clearing organizations

On August 8, 2018, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking, which if adopted as proposed, would set out the policies and procedures for clearing organizations located outside of the United States to follow if they want to obtain an exemption from registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO). … Continue Reading

President Trump signs into law CFIUS reform bill

On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 115-232), which included the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”). FIRRMA marks the most significant change in over ten years in the law governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). CFIUS is … Continue Reading

Compliance date for next set of DFS cybersecurity regulations is September 4, 2018

On August 8, 2018, the Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services issued a reminder to DFS-regulated financial services businesses that starting September 4, 2018, they were required to be in compliance with the next set of requirements in the DFS cybersecurity regulations located at Part 500 of the New York State … Continue Reading

OCC announces it will begin accepting charter applications from fintechs

On July 31, 2018, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced its decision to begin accepting applications for special purpose national bank charters from financial technology companies (“fintechs”) that are engaged in the business of banking but do not take deposits. The OCC’s decision comes nearly two years after the agency initially … Continue Reading

SEC adopts new Form ATS-N and amendments to Regulation ATS to increase transparency and oversight of alternative trading systems

On July 18, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted to adopt amendments to Regulation ATS that impose additional public disclosure requirements on, and enhance the SEC’s oversight of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”) that facilitate transactions in National Market System stocks (“NMS Stock ATSs”). Regulation ATS, adopted in 1998, established a regulatory framework intended … Continue Reading

New York State finalizes regulation requiring registration of consumer credit reporting agencies

On June 25, 2018, New York State announced adoption of final Department of Financial Services (DFS) regulations that require consumer credit reporting agencies to register with the DFS. Our blog post on the regulations as proposed last fall can be found here. There were some clarifying changes to the requirements but the basic objectives of registration, … Continue Reading

American Express steers clear of antitrust law violation

On June 25, 2018, the US Supreme Court issued an opinion holding that credit-card company American Express did not violate federal antitrust law by requiring merchants to contractually agree to “antisteering provisions.” These antisteering provisions prohibit merchants from “steering” cardholders at the point of purchase away from using their American Express card in favor of … Continue Reading