PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • March 7, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate. Among the requirements of this latest Executive Order are mandates for federal agencies to appoint “Regulatory Reform Officers” and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”. As described in a White House press release, the Executive Order directs each agency’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to: “evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification”; and “focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations.”

     

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  • February 9, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination”. On February 3, the White House issued a memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017…” The memorandum provides agencies with information on how to implement the “Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017” established by the Executive Order.   

    Among the issues addressed, the February 3, memorandum clarifies that the Executive Order applies only to significant rulemakings, and does not require compliance by independent federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

     

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  • January 25, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak 

    On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order and four memoranda addressing pipeline, infrastructure, and manufacturing issues. The memoranda include one directing prompt consideration of the remaining federal approvals needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another memorandum invites TransCanada to resubmit its application for a Presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The memorandum further directs the Department of State to “reach a final permitting decision” within 60 days of receiving a new Keystone XL permit application.

    A memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce requires the development of a “plan” to require “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines [to]…use materials and equipment [including steel] produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law…”

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W&J Publications

Insights on Current Policy Issues

By Frank Vlossak.
On February 11, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised guidance document setting out the Underground Injection Control (UIC) requirements for hydraulic fracturing that uses diesel fuels. The EPA also released a memorandum on implementing the policy. Also on February 11, the Department of Energy approved an order authorizing Cameron LNG to export 1.7 Bcf/day of liquefied natural gas.     


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By Eric Robins and Rebecca Konst.
On September 18, 2013, the SEC unanimously approved final rules on the registration of municipal advisors. Under the final rule, a municipal advisor is required to register with the SEC if it provides advice on the issuance of municipal securities, provides advice on certain "investment strategies" related to the proceeds of municipal securities and related municipal escrow investments in refinancing, or provides advice on municipal derivatives. Also under the final rule, a person would be providing "advice" to a municipal entity or an "obligated person" based on "all of the relevant facts and circumstances," including whether the advice: involves a "recommendation" to a municipal entity; is particularized to the specific needs of a municipal entity; and relates to municipal financial products or the issuance of municipal securities. The SEC also issued a rule to extend the temporary registration of municipal advisors, until the final rule becomes effective.

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The three-hour trading shutdown of Nasdaq listed securities on August 22, 2013 brought to light the critical role of Securities Information Processors (SIPs). A similar 6-minute in duration failure of the Nasdaq SIP also occurred on September 4, 2013. During the August 22 failure, Nasdaq's SIP went down, resulting in Nasdaq halting trading in Nasdaq-listed stocks. This action was deemed a necessary action because the SIP distributes quotations and transactions in those securities. While the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq both provide proprietary data feeds to certain investors who specifically pay for those proprietary feeds, no other SIP provides competing services to disseminate quote and trade information to all investors. Therefore, the temporary failure of Nasdaq's SIP resulted in no trading in Nasdaq-listed stocks. This highlights SIPs as being potential single points of failure for the equity markets. By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Eric Robins and Rebecca Konst.

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On Friday, August 16, 2013, David Franasiak gave a presentation to the Canadian Security Traders in Vancouver BC . It included key regulatory issues relating to the equity markets as well as the JOBS ACT.

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On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") introduced a series of proposed reforms regarding Money Market Mutual Funds ("MMFs"). The two main provisions of the proposed reforms require: (1) a floating Net Asset Value ("FNAV") for prime institutional MMFs; and (2) the imposition of liquidity fees if a fund's weekly liquid assets fall below a certain threshold, in conjunction with redemption suspensions, or gates, during times of market stress ("Fees and Gates"). The SEC recommended taking one or both of the main proposed reforms in conjunction with any number of other proposed measures including but not limited to: enhanced stress-testing requirements; enhanced disclosures; and more stringent diversification requirements. The proposed reforms include a compliance date of 2 years to provide time for MMFs to convert to a FNAV. By David E. Franasiak, Joel Oswald, Eric Robins and Alison Kelly.

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A proposal to amend the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) found its way into President Obama's annual budget submission to Congress earlier this year. The proposal would exempt gains of foreign pension funds from the disposition of U.S. real property interests. Under current FIRPTA law, gains of foreign investors from the disposition of U.S. real property interests are generally subject to U.S. tax. President Obama's proposal would exempt foreign pension plans from the tax. A foreign pension fund would mean a trust, corporation, or other organization or arrangement that is created or organized outside of the U.S. and substantially all of the activity of which is to administer or provide pension or retirement benefits. Under the President's plan, non-pension, foreign investors would still be subject to the FIRPTA tax. By Tony Roda.

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Historically, state and local governmental pension plans did not attract much attention in our nation's capital. Certainly, they did in the 50 state capitals, but for Washington, D.C., the issues were few and far between. We liked it that way. Today, state and local pension plans are of increasing interest to federal policymakers, both in Congress and the Executive Branch. This is so much the case that I have to use a disclaimer right now – the overview and list of issues discussed in this article are not exhaustive. The issues break generally into two categories – regulatory and legislative – with some overlap. On the regulatory front, I will talk about conversions to Roth accounts, normal retirement age, the definitions of governmental plan and municipal advisor, and the pick up rules. By Tony Roda.

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Since 2008, an industry group called "NetCoalition", which is a collection of internet companies and other companies such as Bloomberg and trade groups such as the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), have challenged the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) policy on market data fees in court over policies that institutionalize market data as an exchange product. This coalition received a favorable outcome from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010. In an April 2013 decision on this issue, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals directed the SEC to consider fee complaints under a "denial of access" process. As such, SIFMA filed two such petitions with the SEC in May 2013. These challenges over market data fees are far from over. With $400 million in market data fees at stake, the issue is closely being watched by industry in view of its impact on market structure issues. By David E. Franasiak, Joel Oswald and Eric Robins.

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The EPA has extended the deadline for submissions on its study on hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources. House and Senate committees will focus on natural gas issues in May. By Frank Vlossak.

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The Regulatory Landscape - Recent Regulatory Actions and Proposals Affecting the Exchanges and Capital Markets and the Issues Raised. This document was prepared by David E. Franasiak.

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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • March 7, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate. Among the requirements of this latest Executive Order are mandates for federal agencies to appoint “Regulatory Reform Officers” and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”. As described in a White House press release, the Executive Order directs each agency’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to: “evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification”; and “focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations.”

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • February 9, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination”. On February 3, the White House issued a memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017…” The memorandum provides agencies with information on how to implement the “Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017” established by the Executive Order.   

    Among the issues addressed, the February 3, memorandum clarifies that the Executive Order applies only to significant rulemakings, and does not require compliance by independent federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • January 25, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak 

    On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order and four memoranda addressing pipeline, infrastructure, and manufacturing issues. The memoranda include one directing prompt consideration of the remaining federal approvals needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another memorandum invites TransCanada to resubmit its application for a Presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The memorandum further directs the Department of State to “reach a final permitting decision” within 60 days of receiving a new Keystone XL permit application.

    A memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce requires the development of a “plan” to require “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines [to]…use materials and equipment [including steel] produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law…”

    Read...

    Read More

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