New York has enhanced its fraud prevention tools, while consumers can identify crypto scams using California’s scam tracker. A week after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed amendments to cover cryptoassets under the Custody Rule applicable to investment advisers, federal banking agencies issued a statement reminding banks of their risk management obligations in connection with holding crypto companies’ deposits. The United Kingdom is considering fund tokenization, particularly as it relates to retail investors, and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission is gearing up for a crypto exchange platform licensing regime while considering whether retail investors should trade on licensed crypto platforms.
LATEST REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING
THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
In the continuation of our new blog series highlighting recent developments in the digital asset space, this post details continued action policy and enforcement actions by US regulators.
In this new series, we will provide an overview of recent noteworthy developments in the digital asset space around the world. The start of February was a busy period for regulators in the United States, where the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled charges against an exchange in connection with its staking services and where other regulators issued digital asset guidance. Both the United Kingdom and Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority introduced plans to regulate digital asset activities. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority released a framework for stablecoin regulation, but it is unclear whether a new law will be adopted or existing laws will be amended to incorporate the framework.
In the depth of a crypto winter, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued guidance (the Guidance) on custodial standards for those with a BitLicense or that are registered as New York state limited purpose trust companies that engage in virtual currency (VC) business activity (VC Trust Companies and, together with BitLicensees, VC Custodians). In addition to providing customer segregation and compliance standards, DFS also announced in the Guidance its position that a VC Custodian that enters into a sub-custody arrangement must obtain prior DFS approval before the arrangement’s implementation.
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) promulgated its long-awaited final rule regarding commercial financing disclosures, which applies to transactions of $2.5 million or less, on February 1, 2023. The state’s Commercial Finance Disclosure Law (CFDL) took effect January 1, 2022 and requires a TILA-like cost-of-credit disclosure to small businesses when they shop for commercial financing.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Regulation Z (the Proposal), which implements the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), to better ensure that late fees charged on credit card accounts are “reasonable and proportional” to late payments as required under the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act of 2009 (Card Act).
For the second time in a month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a new rule that would require businesses to report already public information and thereby increase the burdens on, and risks to, the nonbank financial services industry, which may ultimately increase costs to consumers or slow the proliferation of new products that benefit consumers.
The US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on December 20, 2022, that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) properly served the defendant, Ooki DAO, by posting summons documents in Ooki DAO’s online discussion forum and in its help chat box. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Ooki DAO, No. 3:22-cv-05416-WHO, 2022 BL 454541, 2022 U.S. Dist. Lexis 228820 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2022), Court Opinion (the Order).
The FDIC Board of Directors issued a proposal on December 13 amending and updating the rules regarding the use of the official FDIC sign and advertising statements to better reflect the modern consumer banking landscape. As noted in a memorandum from the FDIC staff, the update is also meant to address the growth of the fintech sector and partnerships between banks and fintechs. The proposed rule also seeks to clarify instances when FDIC deposit insurance coverage is being misrepresented to consumers.
SEC Staff Clarifies Position on Disaggregation for Section 13(d) and 16(a) Reporting by Certain ETF Authorized Participants
The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance recently posted new compliance and disclosure interpretations concluding that any registered broker-dealer acting as an authorized participant (AP) for any ActiveShares exchange-traded fund (ETF) may rely on the Commission’s disaggregation guidance to separately report ownership of securities acquired in a confidential brokerage account (Confidential Account) with a nonaffiliated brokerage firm (AP Representative), for the benefit of the AP.