On January 13, 2022, CFTC Commissioner Dawn D. Stump delivered remarks at the Chamber of Digital Commerce. Commissioner Stump acknowledged that: (1) market regulators must avoid stifling beneficial market innovations by rigidly clinging to past regulatory approaches that do not fit the current paradigm of products and services offered to the public; and (2) infrastructure providers must accept regulatory oversight to assure market integrity and consumer protection.
Biden Administration Releases U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption
In December 2021, the White House released the “United States Strategy on Countering Corruption” (the “Strategy”). The Strategy is a follow-on document to the June 3, 2021, Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption; (See our prior Alert regarding corruption as national security priority), which set Administration policies regarding the corrosive impact of corruption globally and directed key agencies and departments to develop strategies to attack corruption.
Federal Trade Commission’s Forthcoming Four Year Strategic Plan (2022-2026)
Next year the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) will adopt a new four-year strategic plan for fiscal years 2022-2026, as required by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010. This Act requires federal agencies to update their strategic plans every four years.
Banking Agencies’ Joint Statement Promises Clarification of Digital Assets in 2022
On November 23, 2021, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (collectively, “Supervisory Agencies”) issued the Joint Statement on Crypto-Asset Policy Sprint Initiative and Next Steps (“Joint Statement”).
OCC Clarifies That Digital Asset Activities are Permissible if Safeguards are in Place
On November 18, 2021, the Chief Counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) published Interpretative Letter #1179 to clarify the Digital Asset Letters (defined below) related to the permissibility of national banks and Federal savings associations (collectively, “Banks”) to engage in cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, and stablecoin activities.
SEC Chair Gensler Outlines SEC Enforcement Priorities and Approach
On November 4, 2021, SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered remarks at a Securities Enforcement Forum and explained why enforcement is a “fundamental pillar in achieving the SEC’s mission” of investor protection, capital formation, and efficient and orderly markets. Chair Gensler’s remarks came one-week after Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco delivered the keynote address at the ABA’s 36th Annual Institute on White Collar Crime on October 28th, in which she outlined the DOJ’s priorities to prevent corporate crime.
DOJ Details Priorities on Combatting Corporate Crime
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco (“DAG”) delivered the keynote address at the ABA’s 36th Annual Institute on White Collar Crime on October 28th. The speech emphasized priorities that existed prior to the Trump Administration. The DAG explained that corporate crime has taken on a national security dimension, with data analytics playing a larger role.
President’s Working Group on Financial Markets Punts on Offering Substantial Guidance on Stablecoins
On July 26, 2021, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to urge the Financial Stability Oversight Council (“FSOC”) to “act with urgency and use its statutory authority to address cryptocurrencies’ risk and ensure the safety and stability of our financial system.” On November 1, 2021, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, joined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), addressed part of Senator Warren’s concerns by issuing a Report on Stablecoins (“Report”). The Report left many issues unresolved unfortunately.
The SEC Approves Nasdaq Diversity Rule for Corporate Boards
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved a proposal by the Nasdaq to diversify corporate boards. The Nasdaq’s proposed rule is aspirational, requiring disclosure of compliance or an explanation of non-compliance. However, the proposal has drawn heated debate in both political and business circles, with some arguing for needed integration of corporate boards, and others arguing that the policy is racially discriminatory.
Biden Administration Identifies Corruption as National Security Priority
The White House released a Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption (“Memo”) on June 3, 2021. The Memo sets Administration policy regarding the corrosive impact corruption has on “United States national security,” which, if not addressed, threatens “economic equity, global anti-poverty and development efforts, and democracy itself.” The Memo directs an interagency review by agencies including CIA, DHS, DOJ, DNI, and certain military assets, to develop strategies that, when implemented, will bolster the U.S. Government’s ability to attack corruption, wherever located.
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