“A funny thing happened recently in the left-leaning Golden State. In a board election last month, members of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, the biggest pension fund in the nation, threw out their president and gave ESG investing a bloody nose…
“It’s too early to tell if this election will have ramifications beyond Calpers,” says Paul Atkins, CEO of Patomak Global Partners and a Republican SEC commissioner from 2002 to 2008. “But a lot of funds are already using ESG, and investors don’t know to what extent they are using it.”
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System this month said no thank you to pension-fund activism. Government workers unseated Priya Mathur, the sitting Calpers president. She was defeated by Jason Perez, a police-union official who criticized Ms. Mathur’s focus on environmental, social and governance investing, or ESG. Mr. Perez emphasizes the agency’s fiduciary duty to maximize investor returns.
House lawmakers are drafting legislation to preempt some aspects of state licensing and regulation of the virtual currency industry in a bid to help U.S.-based crypto exchanges and blockchain companies remain competitive in a global market.
“We have 50 states here, and those states have many different people who have interests in securities markets,” Paul Atkins, a former commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission who now leads the financial services consulting group Patomak Global Partners LLC, said during a panel.
“Is [the SEC] a merit regulator, or should investors be able to decide for themselves what to invest in?” says Paul Atkins, a former SEC commissioner and now chief executive of Patomak Global Partners, a financial consulting firm. Resolving that debate will take time, he says.
Patomak Senior Adviser Luther Strange opines in RealClearMarkets:
Climate change is a serious issue that impacts every person, deserving a serious public-policy debate through our democratic process… Lawsuits will not develop sound public policy, and they will certainly not halt climate change. And the reality that two federal judges have now dismissed city climate cases should send a strong message to other local leaders: the courts are not the proper place to make climate policy.
Token Alliance co-chairs Paul Atkins and Jim Newsome write in an op/ed in Morning Consult:
The private sector drives innovation; it is one of the best characteristics of the American economy. In contrast, the government operates deliberately and carefully.
That is why we worked with Token Alliance, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce representing more than 350 blockchain and token experts from around the globe, to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines now to help shape the responsible growth of the token marketplace. The collaborative report is designed to be used as a resource among industry innovators, consumers, and policymakers to address so-called “utility tokens,” an aspect of the token economy fighting to be recognized.
Forbes contributor Aaron Staley writes: “…An overly expansive interpretation and application of the Howey Test could threaten the utility of blockchain technology and could stifle innovation,” states a new report from the Token Alliance, a coalition led by the Chamber of Digital Commerce - the U.S. blockchain and digital asset trade group...
“These industry-developed principles are an important tool for responsible growth and smart regulation that strikes the right balance between protecting investors while allowing for innovation in this new technological frontier,” said Paul Atkins, CEO of Patomak Global Partners and a former SEC commissioner.
Chairman of the Advisory Board for CoinDesk, Michael Casey writes:
“…if digital tokens are to matter and if they are to enable networks of distributed trust, the industry needs to advance to adulthood…
…As such, it is encouraging to see proactive efforts to promote best practices. The latest such effort comes from the Token Alliance, an industry initiative of the Digital Chamber of Commerce that comprises 350 global industry participants, including blockchain and token experts, technologists, economists, former regulators, and practitioners from over 20 law firms.
On Monday, the Alliance will release its first white paper, one that aims to bring two important constituencies – industry leaders and regulators – into alignment around the appropriate business and legal treatment of digital token issuances.
Paul Atkins writes in an opinion piece exclusive to Pensions & Investments:
“Pension funds must invest long-term to meet the anticipated needs of retirees. Every dollar counts, and long-term growth is essential, especially because markets do not always go up. Managing other people's money is not a trivial pursuit — it demands prudence, patience and perception, not political gamesmanship. “
…Former SEC commissioner Paul Atkins, CEO of Patomak Global Partners LLC, a Washington financial consulting firm, said that post-tax reform, companies are supporting economic growth in several ways, such as distributing cash through buybacks to shareholders, including those in and saving for retirement. "Buybacks are a basic function of capital markets that drive reinvestment. Share buybacks benefit those very shareholders, seniors and the broader economy," Mr. Atkins said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Labor Department have both asserted the authority to regulate investment brokers. The two of us—a former SEC commissioner and a former labor solicitor—have a word of advice for Labor concerning its recent efforts to adopt new rules on broker conflicts of interest: It’s time to pass the baton.
April 26, 2018, Washington, D.C. – Former U.S. Senator Luther J. Strange, III has joined Patomak Global Partners, a strategy, risk-management, and enforcement consulting firm, as a Senior Advisor. Senator Strange draws on his experience as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General for the State of Alabama to provide strategic counsel to clients, including on corporate investigations, monitorships, compliance, and enforcement matters.
Former U.S. Senator Luther Strange, who lost a Republican primary race in Alabama last year despite the backing of President Donald Trump, is returning to Washington to advise financial firms.
Strange is joining Patomak Global Partners, a regulatory consulting firm with close ties to the Trump administration. The ex-prosecutor spent a year in the Senate after he was appointed to the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general.
WSJ reporters Gabriel T. Rubin and Dave Michaels write:
WASHINGTON—Big Silicon Valley backers of cryptocurrencies have sought a broad exemption from federal oversight they say would slow digital coin growth, as the industry steps up lobbying to limit government oversight of the burgeoning world of cryptocurrencies...
...The cryptocurrency industry’s more established players last December scored a victory for their legitimacy when two of the biggest derivatives exchanges, CME Group Inc. and Cboe Global Markets , launched bitcoin futures. By allowing the contracts to come to market, the CFTC signaled that the bitcoin exchanges whose indexes were used to reference the contracts had proper safeguards against fraud and manipulation.
“It was good to help institutionalize bitcoin and have those on supervised platforms,” Mr. Atkins, the former SEC commissioner, said April 11 at a cryptocurrency conference.
"While acknowledging the opportunity for fraud, Paul Atkins, a former commissioner and co-chair of the industry-led Token Alliance, an education and policy initiative, says, 'We see lots of scams coming out of any new technology, but that doesn’t mean the whole thing is corrupt.'”
The Senate is expected to approve this week the most significant reversal of regulatory requirements for financial services firms since the financial crisis, including a significant retrenchment of the heightened scrutiny for banks with less than $250 billion in assets that was implemented by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010...
Paul Atkins, chief executive of Patomak Global Partners, LLC...told an audience of international bankers at a conference in Washington on Monday that rather than what was being characterized by critics and in the press as a wholesale upheaval of Dodd-Frank regulation, the proposal was a 'refinement' of an 'absurdly low threshold' for bank regulatory scrutiny.
Just as Washington is becoming more investor-friendly, some politicians are going back to fighting in favor of well-connected special interests over Mr. and Mrs. 401(k). The latest example: A policy rider (let's call it what it is - an earmark) attached to an appropriations bill that would prevent a long-overdue effort to save retirees and investors more than $300 million a year by modernizing how mutual fund reports are delivered to shareholders.