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Getting a phone call from someone’s compliance or general counsel’s office acknowledging some technical violation of the rules is instantly one of the best days in any regulator’s year. A fine, however modest, can be assessed, indicating one’s effectiveness, without recourse to a tedious investigation, unpleasant negotiations with lawyers who are quite frankly better than you or having to convince judge or jury of the justness of your cause, however thin the evidence. Even FINRA manages to not screw it up (usually), and everyone’s very happy to look like their doing something without actually doing anything.

This is especially true of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which, even by generally meagre standards of U.S. regulatory funding, is a pathetic pauper. Getting to trumpet getting tough on Goldman Sachs to the tune of $1 million is a godsend for an agency as broke as the CFTC. Anything more ambitious is going to require some help.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the 2019 fiscal year filed a record 16 enforcement actions alongside related criminal charges, the agency said this week in its annual enforcement report…. The agency has strengthened its relationship with the U.S. Justice Department, sharing information on cases in which it spots potential criminal activity…. The director of the agency’s enforcement division, James McDonald—himself a former federal prosecutor—has highlighted the benefits of the increased coordination for both agencies. The CFTC’s specialized expertise and deep knowledge of market data enable it to identify potential criminal conduct that others wouldn’t otherwise catch, he told attendees of a legal conference in New York in September.

And then leave the real work to those with the money to pursue it.

CFTC Relying More Heavily on Coordination with Criminal Prosecutors [WSJ]
CFTC Fines Goldman Sachs $1 Million for Failing to Record Calls [WSJ]
Bank Regulator Fines Citigroup’s U.K. Operations $56.6 Million for Regulatory Failings [WSJ]


By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

CFTC To Calculate Fines On More Specific Range Of Envelope Backs

There won’t be consistency, but there will be a more consistent range of made-up numbers you have to put on a check.

How do you say, "low six-month fix" in emojis? Helar Lukats [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

WhatsApp Is Free… Until It Isn’t

Failing to keep track of the untrackable is proving very expensive for banks.

Photo: Getty Images.

What Credit Suisse Lacks In Money Lost On Archegos It Makes Up For In Ominous Requests For Information

The Justice Department and Prudential Regulation Authority have some questions.

(Getty Images)

Jamie Dimon Is A Pretty Permissive Babysitter, It Turns Out

He really let the kids run wild on their devices without even a glance.

(Getty Images for Yahoo Finance)

Just How Fulsome Was Jes Staley’s Description Of His Ties To Jeffrey Epstein To British Regulators?

They’d like to know if he improperly kept his underwear on in his disclosures to them.


No One Knows What The Hell Is Going On

Davos? No. Holiday parties? Maybe. Vaccine mandates? It’s up to Neil Gorsuch.

By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

CFTC Nominee Brings Enormous Amount Of Recent Practical Experience To The Job

Sure, he’s been a government employee for three-and-a-half years, but that hasn’t stopped Robert Bowes from also being a day-trader.