Week InReview
Friday | Mar 29, 2019
Will Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be re-privatized soon?

My answer to this question, for at least  the last five years , has been “lol no,” and I keep not being wrong.  Here you go...

President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued a long-awaited memo calling for reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but stepped back from suggestions his administration could push through wholesale changes while bypassing Congress. …

Policy experts said the memo, which makes reference to “legislative” reform, represented a defeat for advocates of a unilateral executive approach to GSE reform — an idea floated by Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, and Joseph Otting, acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the GSEs.

With unilateral executive action off the table, all that is required now is for bipartisan majorities of the House and Senate to reach an agreement with the White House on how the housing market should be structured and whether hedge funds who own Fannie and Freddie stock should be rewarded in the re-privatization.

in case you missed it...
The Securities and Exchange Commission should make publicly traded companies disclose more on their workforce, according to a recommendation by the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee that calls for data on topics such as worker diversity and safety, as well as information on pay and productivity, as possible metrics for measuring so-called human capital. (Bloomberg Law | Mar 28)

When the Securities and Exchange Commission adopts its Regulation Best Interest, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will revise its current suitability rule or do away with it entirely, said Robert Colby, FINRA's chief legal officer. Because FINRA will enforce Reg BI, it needs to look at whether there is any reason to leave the suitability rule on the books because there's overlap. (ThinkAdvisor | Mar 26)

A retreat by traders from an important corner of the U.S. financial system has some worried it could make the stock market more susceptible to shocks. (The Wall Street Journal | Mar 25)
Banks win loan-risk exemption from CFTC swap dealer registration
(Mar 25) — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a rule Monday that excludes swap contracts that banks use to help customers hedge loan risk from an $8 billion threshold for determining which lenders must register as dealers. The Republican-led commission voted 3-2 along party lines for the exclusion, that backers say will help borrowers hedge against rising loan costs. The dealer-registration requirement, which was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, imposes stricter margin and capital rules.
SEC hits pause on transaction fee test after exchanges sued
(Mar 28) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has decided to stay key parts of a government review of the system of fees and rebates that powers most of the U.S. stock exchanges’ business, the regulator said in a  filing  on Thursday. NYSE, Nasdaq and Cboe  all sued  the SEC over the pilot in February
binge reading disorder
Human contact is now a luxury good
Screens used to be for the elite. Now avoiding them is a status symbol.

A $50 million boat for the toys you can't fit on your yacht
Support yachts can lug your helicopter, and ‘lots of jet skis’. They can also serve as overflow accommodations for guests.

Gold glitters as central banks reject U.S. dollar
There was a point in the early-1990s when lunchtime London wine tipplers above a certain pay-grade would boast of being in the ABC club: “anything but Chardonnay”. Now it seems central bank reserve managers have founded a rather less bibulous fraternity of their own, the ABD club — “anything but (US) dollars”.
—  Open Markets