PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • February 5, 2018

    By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Michael D. Kans, and Rebecca L. Konst

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

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  • January 11, 2018

    By Frank Vlossak

    Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have worked toward regulatory reform that includes the review, revision, and repeal of existing regulations, with a focus on rules promulgated by the Obama Administration. Congress has played a key role in this effort, through the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal rules finalized in the waning months of the prior Administration, as well as one rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2017.

    President Trump signed a series of executive orders in the early months of his presidency that are propelling the deregulatory efforts of federal agencies. These executive orders: set a cap limiting regulations in Fiscal Year 2017 to zero net cost; provide agencies with a framework for limiting new regulations and identifying existing rules to repeal or revise; direct review and revision or repeal of the “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the Obama Administration; and require review and reform of energy and climate-related regulations.

     

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  • October 10, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units”. The NPRM would rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power generation sector sources, namely coal and natural gas power plants.

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W&J Publications

Insights on Current Policy Issues

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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On March 4, President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz to be Secretary of Energy and Gina McCarthy to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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On February 12, the Obama Administration released its long anticipated cybersecurity Executive Order (EO) along with a Presidential Policy Directive (PPD.) This memorandum will sketch the scope, timing, and unknowns of the EO and PPD as they relate to the financial services industry writ large.  David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald and Michael D. Kans assisted in the preparation of this memorandum.

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The Department of Interior has announced that it will redraft proposed regulations addressing hydraulic fracturing on public lands, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a court filing that indicates it could adjust its 2012 Clean Air Act regulations targeting the oil and gas sector.

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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • February 5, 2018

    By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Michael D. Kans, and Rebecca L. Konst

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • January 11, 2018

    By Frank Vlossak

    Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have worked toward regulatory reform that includes the review, revision, and repeal of existing regulations, with a focus on rules promulgated by the Obama Administration. Congress has played a key role in this effort, through the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal rules finalized in the waning months of the prior Administration, as well as one rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2017.

    President Trump signed a series of executive orders in the early months of his presidency that are propelling the deregulatory efforts of federal agencies. These executive orders: set a cap limiting regulations in Fiscal Year 2017 to zero net cost; provide agencies with a framework for limiting new regulations and identifying existing rules to repeal or revise; direct review and revision or repeal of the “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the Obama Administration; and require review and reform of energy and climate-related regulations.

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • October 10, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units”. The NPRM would rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power generation sector sources, namely coal and natural gas power plants.

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