Week InReview
Friday | Feb 28, 2020
Who owns the Fed?

The question comes from foil-hatted conspiracists, good government advocates, and sober academics: Who owns the New York Federal Reserve Bank?

Under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, each of the 12 regional reserve banks of the Federal Reserve System is owned by its member banks, who originally ponied up the capital to keep them running.

The number of capital shares they subscribe to is based upon a percentage of each member bank’s capital and surplus. 

But the New York Fed – by far the most important of the regional banks – as a matter of policy has previously not disclosed the capital share holdings of its 70-plus member banks.

Now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request filed late last year by  Institutional Investor , we know the truth. 

The big reveal for year-end 2018: Citibank, the No. 1 institution on the roster, held 87.9 million New York Federal Reserve Bank shares – or 42.8 percent of the total. 

The No. 2 holder stockholder was JPMorgan Chase Bank, with 60.6 million shares, equal to 29.5 percent of the total. In other words, the two banks together control nearly three-quarters of the regional bank’s capital shares.

Each bank, after all, has only one vote when it comes to electing bank directors (their only shareholder responsibility) regardless of stock holdings. And New York Fed shares cannot be traded, shorted, or pledged as collateral. 

in case you missed it...
The Cboe Volatility Index jumped 8 points Monday, the biggest surge since the "Volmageddon" meltdown of February 2018, amid new concerns on the coronavirus outbreak. The fear gauge closed above 25, logging its third consecutive day of gains. (BNN Bloomberg - Canada | Feb 25)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s existing shareholders shouldn’t expect a huge payday after the mortgage giants raise capital from new investors as part of a plan to free them from U.S. control, the companies’ chief regulator said Tuesday. (Bloomberg Markets | Feb 25)

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s top official overseeing credit-rating firms said Monday the agency is rethinking its post-crisis effort to improve the quality of bond ratings, a tacit acknowledgment that the decade-old program has been a failure . (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 24)

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said he’s encouraged fellow members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to look into potential systemic risks posed by the mortgage market. (Bloomberg Law | Feb 24)

Massachusetts said it adopted new rules requiring brokers to act in their clients’ best interests, staking its claim as the first U.S. state to raise the bar on investor protections since a federal measure was struck down. (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 21)
SEC to hold national compliance seminar
(Feb 25) The Securities and Exchange Commission opened  registration  for its compliance outreach program’s national seminar for investment companies and investment advisers. The event is intended to help Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) and other senior personnel at investment companies and investment advisory firms enhance their compliance programs for the protection of investors.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), Division of Investment Management (IM), and the Asset Management Unit (AMU) of the Division of Enforcement jointly sponsor the  compliance outreach program . The national seminar will be held on April 21 at the SEC’s Washington, DC, headquarters from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. In-person attendance is limited to 500; a live webcast will be available at  SEC.gov . The seminar agenda can be found  here

Speakers will include SEC Chair Jay Clayton, senior leadership from OCIE, IM, and AMU, and industry representatives. Topics will include: program priorities in 2020, investment adviser standard of conduct and related disclosures, issues regarding conflicts of interest, certain regulatory hot topics, and topics specific to investment companies and investment advisers to private funds.

Investment adviser and investment company senior officers may register online to attend the event  in-person here . For more information, contact: ComplianceOutreach@sec.gov
the cyber cafe
The 30 hottest new cybersecurity tools
From behavior profiling of IoT devices to container-based isolation for key applications to eliminating spoofing links in emails, here's a look at the key cybersecurity tools unveiled at the RSA Conference this year. Some of the more common areas for product innovation this year include application security, cloud security, email security, and IoT security.
—  CRN

Cyberspace and geopolitics: Assessing global cybersecurity norm processes at a crossroads
As cyber threats multiply, efforts to establish international norms for cyber activity have created a disjointed ecosystem. Is the fragmentation a cause for concern or an opportunity to promote cyber stability and security?

16 best practices for improving cybersecurity
"Securing What's Now and What's Next: 20 Considerations for 2020" covers everything from spending priorities to testing breach response plans to new mobile threats. Here are 16 best practices from the report. (See also: Don't leave data backups online | ZDNet)
—  TechRepublic
binge reading disorder
If you don't get enough sleep, you are literally poisoning your brain
New research has shown exactly why that is, and it should be frightening news for anyone who routinely tries to get by on four, five, or even six hours, even if they make up for it with daytime naps.
—  Inc .

Virologists in zombie movies inspire bond managers’ new playbooks
Most fund managers simply do not have the models to track what threatens to be a global pandemic, leading them to turn to universities, world health bodies and even works of fiction, while at the same time playing safe by ploughing money into havens such as bonds and gold.

‘If a charge can't stick on these guys, no changes can stick on anyone.’
A jury convicted a hedge fund manager of securities fraud. The judge didn’t care.
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