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MONTH-IN-BRIEF (Oct 2019)

Banking Law

Banking Agencies Finalize Revisions to Volcker Rule

By Lynette I. Hotchkiss, Mechanics Bank

On October 8, 2019, five federal financial regulatory agencies (the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission – collectively, the “Agencies”) finalized revisions to the “Volcker rule,” simplifying compliance requirements.  By statute, the Volcker rule generally prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading or investing in or sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds.  Under the revised rule, requirements have been simplified and streamlined for firms that do not have significant trading activities.  Conversely, firms with significant trading activity will have more stringent compliance requirements.  The Agencies announcement states that the “revisions continue to prohibit proprietary trading, while providing greater clarity and certainty for activities allowed under the law. The Agencies expect that the universe of trades that are considered prohibited proprietary trading will remain generally the same as under the Agencies’ 2013 rule.”

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