US Regulatory Research
President Trump Nominates Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor
On 27 August, President Trump formally nominated Eugene Scalia to be Secretary of Labor to replace Alexander Acosta. The nomination will be considered by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The U.S. Congress remained in August recess.
SEC & Securities
SEC Commissioners Jackson and Lee Make Statement on Proposed Changes to Regulation S-K
On 27 August, Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Commissioners Robert J. Jackson, Jr. and Allison Herren Lee issued a joint statement regarding the recently proposed revisions to Regulation S-K, the central repository for non-financial statement disclosure. The commissioners believe the proposal is flawed in two critical areas: (i) the proposal favors a principle-based approach to disclosure rather than balancing the use of principles with line-item disclosures, and (ii) the proposal does not seek comment on whether to include the topic of climate risk in the Description of Business under Item 101. Commissioners Jackson and Lee “[h]ope to hear from investors about what metrics, if any, would be most useful to include in any final rules.”
SEC Awards More than $1.8 Million to Whistleblower
On 29 August, the SEC announced an award of more than $1.8 million to a whistleblower whose information and assistance were critically important to the success of an enforcement action involving misconduct committed overseas. Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower Jane Norberg stated, “The whistleblower in this matter provided stellar information and ongoing assistance that resulted in the Commission bringing a programmatically significant enforcement action. Moreover, the misconduct occurred abroad, and without the whistleblower’s tip and assistance, the violations at issue would have been difficult to identify.” The SEC has awarded approximately $387 million to 66 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.
CFTC & Derivatives
CFTC Commissioner Berkovitz Seeks Member Nominations and Public Comments
On 26 August, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”)’s Commissioner Berkovitz announced he is seeking nominations for the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (“EEMAC”) through a formal request in the Federal Register. Berkovitz stated that EEMAC, an advisory committee established by the Dodd-Frank Act, assists the CFTC in “identifying and exploring pertinent issues in our energy and environmental derivatives markets.” Berkovitz is also seeking public comments on future EEMAC meetings. The deadline for both the nominations and the comments is 20 September 2019.
OCC Announces Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee Meeting
On 26 August, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced that it will hold a meeting of its Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee (“MSAAC”) on 17 September 2019. The MSAAC “advise[s] the OCC on regulatory changes or other steps the OCC may be able to take to ensure the continued health and viability of mutual savings associations and other issues of concern to mutual savings associations.”
OCC Announces Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee Meeting
On 26 August, the OCC announced that it will hold a meeting of its Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee (“MDIAC”) on 19 September 2019. The MDIAC “advises the OCC on steps the OCC may take to ensure the continued health and viability of minority depository institutions and other issues of concern to these institutions.”
Bank Regulators Publish Fourth Quarter 2019 and First Quarter 2020 CRA Evaluation Schedules
CFPB Releases Report on Consumer Credit Market
On 27 August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released its fourth biennial report on the state of the credit card market for the period 2017-2018. The report’s findings include: (i) “[m]arket conditions remain stable as a result of low unemployment, modest wage growth and high consumer confidence”; (ii) “[c]onsumer satisfaction with credit cards remains high and debt service burdens are near the lowest level in more than a decade”; (iii) “[l]ate payment and default rates have risen modestly but remain below pre-recession levels”; and (iv) “[s]ince 2015, consumers have more than doubled spending with credit cards with only modest balance growth.”
o September 5: The SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee will meet telephonically regarding the proxy process.
o September 10: The U.S. House Committee on Financial Services (“House Financial Services Committee”) will hold a hearing entitled “A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding Student Loan Servicers Accountable.”
o September 11: The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets will hold a hearing entitled “Examining Private Market Exemptions as a Barrier to IPOs and Retail Investment.”
o September 12: The House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence will hold a hearing entitled “The Future of Identity in Financial Services: Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities.”
o September 17: The OCC will hold a meeting of its Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee.
o September 18: Comments are due on the CFPB’s notice of proposed rulemaking regarding debt collection practices.
o September 19: The SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting to discuss: (i) methods to develop better disclosures for investors, (ii) increased leverage and related SEC regulatory implications, and (iii) subcommittee reports.
o September 19: The OCC will hold a meeting of Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee.
o September 24: The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission: Wall Street’s Cop on the Beat.”