Update: 9.25.09: For those of you that missed the hearing, (like myself), go here for a 3 hour C-Span video of the hearing.
For those of you that want to watch the live stream of the House Committee on Financial Services hearing led by Barney Frank on H.R. 1207; Ron Paul’s Audit The Fed bill starting at 9am Friday, 9.25.09, go here. I, of course, will have to catch up later….please keep me posted in comments if you do decide to watch, and there is anything newsworthy.
(As an aside before we get started on Barney Frank’s undermining of the Constitution, I want you to be aware of this new legislation that has been proposed, but as of yet, the text is unavailable. As soon as it becomes available, the Monster will be on it!
To amend the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to permit the sharing of confidential supervisory information with foreign auditor oversight bodies.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 27, 2009
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts (for himself and Mr. KANJORSKI) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services
To amend the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to permit the sharing of confidential supervisory information with foreign auditor oversight bodies.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. AUTHORITY TO SHARE CERTAIN INFORMATION.
(a) Definition- Section 2(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7201(a)) is amended by inserting after paragraph (16) the following:
‘(17) FOREIGN AUDITOR OVERSIGHT AUTHORITY- The term ‘foreign auditor oversight authority’ means any governmental body or other entity empowered by a foreign government to conduct inspections of public accounting firms or otherwise to administer or enforce laws related to the regulation of public accounting firms.’.
(b) Availability To Share Information- Section 105(b)(5) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7215(b)(5)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(C) AVAILABILITY TO FOREIGN OVERSIGHT AUTHORITIES- When in the Board’s discretion it is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Act or to protect investors, and without the loss of its status as confidential and privileged in the hands of the Board, all information referred to in subparagraph (A) that relates to a public accounting firm within the inspection authority, or other regulatory or law enforcement jurisdiction, of a foreign auditor oversight authority may be made available to the foreign auditor oversight authority if the foreign auditor oversight authority provides such assurances of confidentiality as the Board determines appropriate.’. (Does any of that make sense to you?)
(c) Conforming Amendment- Section 105(b)(5)(A) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7215(b)(5)(A)) is amended by striking ‘subparagraph (B)’ and inserting ‘subparagraphs (B) and (C)’.
The Swiss Government held an extraordinary meeting today to talk about how America’s legal battle to obtain client names from UBS will hit the legendary Swiss banking industry.
Talks to settle the lawsuit, which had been expected to be completed on Friday, have hit difficulties over the issue of how the names would be conveyed from Switzerland to America.
The US and Swiss Governments and UBS are now due to update Judge Alan Gold, who is presiding over the case, on Thursday about their progress.
The Swiss Government, which is in recess, declined to comment on its special meeting. But the meeting was likely to centre around the possible damage wrought on Switzerland’s banking industry, famous for its promise of strict secrecy, by the case.
Switzerland’s banks look after about $2 trillion for foreigners but the country has seen the privacy it was able to offer banking customers chipped away in recent months by a series of bilateral tax treaties.
The US Department of Justice sued UBS in February for the identities of 52,000 Americans with Swiss bank accounts, whom the tax authorities suspect of using secret bank accounts to evade tax.
UBS claimed that to hand over the names would force the bank to violate Swiss banking secrecy laws and argued that the matter should be settled between the two countries.
Talks between the two governments and UBS have been going on for five weeks. Two weeks ago the parties said that they had reached a tentative settlement.
Hans-Rudolf Merz, Switzerland’s president, said yesterday that the latest snag in the settlement was related to the legal procedure for handing over the names.
The US is believed to want a guarantee that it will receive the information quickly, while Switzerland is thought to have warned that transmitting the names under the administrative assistance process – the legal framework for moving bank client details – could take months.
Anybody still thinking the New World Order is a conspiracy theory when Barney is going to hand over confidential information to “foreign auditor oversight authority”?
If ever there was another bill besides Obama DeathCare and Cap & Tax that needs to be defeated in the Senate, H.R. 3269 would be it. If ever there was a time to keep government and business separate; now would be that time.
Not only does it control the pay and bonuses for employees of all financial institutions with assets over $1 Billion, (stop your bitchin’ – you want to continue to be a capitalist country or what?), but puts total control of what equity securities these institutions can actually deal with in the government’s hands. If the Fed doesn’t like it, it won’t be approved for listing.
H.R.3269 : To amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to provide shareholders with an advisory vote on executive compensation and to prevent perverse incentives in the compensation practices of financial institutions.
The House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill aimed at curbing Wall Street pay packages that have stoked public outrage during the worst recession since the 1930s.
Supporters of the bill, which passed by a vote of 237-185, say that excessive executive compensation practices have led to reckless risk-taking on Wall Street and contributed to the recent global credit crisis.
Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who sponsored the bill, called it “an important step toward the comprehensive financial reform we need.”
“The question of compensation amounts will now be in the hands of shareholders and the question of systemic risk will be in the hands of the government,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.
Barney is only half right in that last statement. The question of the compensation IS NOT in the hands of the shareholders because it is a NON-BINDING vote. This bill’s language was written to cover other power grabs.
Under the House measure, financial institutions with assets of less than $1 billion would be exempt from the bill’s incentive-based compensation disclosure requirements and related pay oversight.
Sixteen Democrats crossed party lines and voted against the measure. Only two Republicans voted yes: Reps. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. of Tennessee and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.
Remember these two Republican’s names. There are a few items left out of this article that can be found on Yahoo News; ‘House votes to clamp limits on Wall Street bonuses’, (but it’s AP), like the fact that this legislation applies even to financial institutions that weren’t bailed out, and that Barney’s feathers got a bit ruffled when it was implied that this bill was even farther left of Bambi’s marketed image.
As always, bold, color, and parenthases are my emphasis and comments.
SEC. 2. SHAREHOLDER VOTE ON EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION DISCLOSURES.
Section 14 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78n) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘(i) Annual Shareholder Approval of Executive Compensation-
‘(1) ANNUAL VOTE- Any proxy or consent or authorization (the solicitation of which is subject to the rules of the Commission pursuant to subsection (a)) for an annual meeting of the shareholders to elect directors (or a special meeting in lieu of such meeting) where proxies are solicited in respect of any security registered under section 12 occurring on or after the date that is 6 months after the date on which final rules are issued under paragraph (4), shall provide for a separate shareholder vote to approve the compensation of executives as disclosed pursuant to the Commission’s compensation disclosure rules for named executive officers (which disclosure shall include the compensation committee report, the compensation discussion and analysis, the compensation tables, and any related materials, to the extent required by such rules). The shareholder vote shall not be binding on the issuer or the board of directors and shall not be construed as overruling a decision by such board, nor to create or imply any additional fiduciary duty by such board, nor shall such vote be construed to restrict or limit the ability of shareholders to make proposals for inclusion in such proxy materials related to executive compensation.
‘(2) SHAREHOLDER APPROVAL OF GOLDEN PARACHUTE COMPENSATION-
‘(A) DISCLOSURE- In any proxy or consent solicitation material (the solicitation of which is subject to the rules of the Commission pursuant to subsection (a)) for a meeting of the shareholders occurring on or after the date that is 6 months after the date on which final rules are issued under paragraph (4), at which shareholders are asked to approve an acquisition, merger, consolidation, or proposed sale or other disposition of all or substantially all the assets of an issuer, the person making such solicitation shall disclose in the proxy or consent solicitation material, in a clear and simple form in accordance with regulations to be promulgated by the Commission, any agreements or understandings that such person has with any named executive officers of such issuer (or of the acquiring issuer, if such issuer is not the acquiring issuer) concerning any type of compensation (whether present, deferred, or contingent) that is based on or otherwise relates to the acquisition, merger, consolidation, sale, or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the issuer and the aggregate total of all such compensation that may (and the conditions upon which it may) be paid or become payable to or on behalf of such executive officer.
‘(B) SHAREHOLDER APPROVAL- Any proxy or consent or authorization relating to the proxy or consent solicitation material containing the disclosure required by subparagraph (A) shall provide for a separate shareholder vote to approve such agreements or understandings and compensation as disclosed, unless such agreements or understandings have been subject to a shareholder vote under paragraph (1). A vote by the shareholders shall not be binding on the issuer or the board of directors of the issuer or the person making the solicitation and shall not be construed as overruling a decision by any such person or issuer, nor to create or imply any additional fiduciary duty by any such person or issuer.
But it gets better:
‘SEC. 10B. STANDARDS RELATING TO COMPENSATION COMMITTEES.
‘(a) Commission Rules-
‘(1) IN GENERAL- Effective not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of the Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009, the Commission shall, by rule, direct the national securities exchanges and national securities associations to prohibit the listing of any class of equity security of an issuer that is not in compliance with the requirements of any portion of subsections (b) through (f).
‘(2) OPPORTUNITY TO CURE DEFECTS- The rules of the Commission under paragraph (1) shall provide for appropriate procedures for an issuer to have an opportunity to cure any defects that would be the basis for a prohibition under paragraph (1) before the imposition of such prohibition.
‘(3) EXEMPTION AUTHORITY- The Commission may exempt certain categories of issuers from the requirements of subsections (b) through (f), where appropriate in view of the purpose of this section. In determining appropriate exemptions, the Commission shall take into account, among other considerations, the potential impact on smaller reporting issuers. (Like who? Goldmans Sachs, etc.)
SEC. 4. ENHANCED COMPENSATION STRUCTURE REPORTING TO REDUCE PERVERSE INCENTIVES.
(a) Enhanced Disclosure and Reporting of Compensation Arrangements-
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the appropriate Federal regulators jointly shall prescribe regulations to require each covered financial institution to disclose to the appropriate Federal regulator the structures of all incentive-based compensation arrangements offered by such covered financial institutions sufficient to determine whether the compensation structure–
(A) is aligned with sound risk management;
(B) is structured to account for the time horizon of risks; and
(C) meets such other criteria as the appropriate Federal regulators jointly may determine to be appropriate to reduce unreasonable incentives offered by such institutions for employees to take undue risks that–
(i) could threaten the safety and soundness of covered financial institutions; or
(ii) could have serious adverse effects on economic conditions or financial stability.
(2) RULES OF CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring the reporting of the actual compensation of particular individuals. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require a covered financial institution that does not have an incentive-based payment arrangement to make the disclosures required under this subsection.
(b) Prohibition on Certain Compensation Arrangements- Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and taking into account the factors described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of subsection (a)(1), the appropriate Federal regulators shall jointly prescribe regulations that prohibit any incentive-based payment arrangement, or any feature of any such arrangement, that the regulators determine encourages inappropriate risks by covered financial institutions that–
(1) could threaten the safety and soundness of covered financial institutions; or
(2) could have serious adverse effects on economic conditions or financial stability.
(c) Enforcement- The provisions of this section shall be enforced under section 505 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and, for purposes of such section, a violation of this section shall be treated as a violation of subtitle A of title V of such Act.
(d) Definitions- As used in this section–
(1) the term ‘appropriate Federal regulator’ means–
(A) the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System;
(B) the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency;
(C) the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
(D) the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision;
(E) the National Credit Union Administration Board;
(F) the Securities and Exchange Commission; and
(G) the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and
(2) the term ‘covered financial institution’ means–
(A) a depository institution or depository institution holding company, as such terms are defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813);
(B) a broker-dealer registered under section 15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o);
(C) a credit union, as described in section 19(b)(1)(A)(iv) of the Federal Reserve Act;
(D) an investment advisor, as such term is defined in section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80b-2(a)(11));
(E) the Federal National Mortgage Association;
(F) the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation; and
(G) any other financial institution that the appropriate Federal regulators, jointly, by rule, determine should be treated as a covered financial institution for purposes of this section.
(e) Exemption for Certain Financial Institutions- The requirements of this section shall not apply to covered financial institutions with assets of less than $1,000,000,000.(So keep your company small)
This isn’t the only bill that Barney has thrown out into the ring in the last couple weeks. Barney has been a very busy boy introducing new and improved powergrabs interesting legislation. If you want to check out his page; go here.
After everything we have been through in the last 18 months, one would think that there are not too many things that would send us screaming for the lifeboats after what we already have been through. At some point saturation and desensitization sets in. Let’s run through a short list:
The Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting on May 31, 2008.
Hank Paulson scaring the bejesus out of Congress in September, 2008.
Barack Obama being elected by 69 million teary crazed idiots.
Millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes.
THE APOLOGY TOUR!!!
The numerous appointments of tax evaders.
The Stimulus Package
The Bailout of AIG.
Nationalization of the banks and financial industry.
The Takeover of Chrysler and GM.
Being labeled domestic terrorists by Janet Napolitano.
Hussein appointing 31 Czars and counting.
Hussein throwing Israel under the bus, hand-holding Iran, and championing the ousted dictator in Honduras.
The Federal Reserve “loses” $9 TRILLION.
Cap and Tax
Al Franken being inducted into the Senate.
Talk about Porkulus II.
The Big NY Banks posting profits after eating each other.
Possible $23 Trillion in Bailouts.
An almost $2 Trillion Deficit THIS YEAR!
I was pretty much inured to it until I saw this photo this morning where I promptly had a visceral reaction and found myself immediately in fight or flight mode. How about you? Does this scare the bejesus out of you? Anybody like to caption this? (and the Winner is now the caption.)
Barney Frank is once again receiving Today’s Are You Freakin’ Kidding Me? Award for attempting to take TARP profits and spend those dollars with the distinct possibility that ACORN will be a recipient of even more of your tax dollars.
What is it going to take to stop the Terminator Party that is destroying our economy? WHAT? I got more than one answer, but nobody is gonna want to hear them.
I have learned not to have hot liquids around when watching a Barney Frank vid. When Barneyboy starts talking about a lack of a government regulator to tell AIG that they were over-extended, I have to shout, “Barney, stop acting like you do not know who owns AIG (AIC), and the reasons for their ‘we can do anything we want‘ mentality!”
In exchange for receiving TARP money, financial institutions were required to hand over shares of preferred stock that paid a dividend for the government. In theory, if a financial institution paid the dividend faithfully, and then repaid the TARP money, then the government would turn a profit. Last month, the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported that, through June 12, 2009, the government had received $6.2 billion in dividend payments. The original TARP legislation required that money made from the program “shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.”
Frank, however, wants to spend the money before it can be used to pay down anything. First, the “TARP for Main Street” proposal would take $1 billion “from dividends paid by financial institutions that have received financial assistance provided under…the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” and apply it to a trust fund that Frank has long wanted to create for low-income rental housing. (The measure, unfunded, was part of last year’s bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.) Next, Frank would take $1.5 billion from TARP dividends for a so-called “neighborhood stabilization” fund. Republican critics have charged that both measures might allow federal dollars to be distributed to activist groups like the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, or ACORN.
The “TARP for Main Street” bill would also spend $2 billion, apparently from remaining TARP funds, to subsidize people who are delinquent on their mortgages, and another $2 billion to “stabilize multifamily properties that are in default or foreclosure.”
Barney! What good does it do anybody to have a home and no job to pay the mortgage? How about we give that $6.2 Billion back to the taxpayer OR BETTER YET, we give out 0% Loans to small businesses so that they can recapitalize their businesses and create jobs? That way, my boss might actually be able to actually hire the workers he needs to finish his contracts, and return me to full employment hours!
Oh damn, I forgot AGAIN that you really are trying to destroy all businesses in this country. Has anybody told the Democrats that MONEY (TAXES) DOES NOT GROW ON TREES? It comes from businesses who pay taxes and American citizens that pay taxes out of their paychecks from those very same businesses!
The Obama administration, moving with increasing speed, has inked the main contours of its plan to revamp financial-market oversight — changes that will ripple through the economy, affecting everything from the operations of international banks to consumer protection.
The principles include giving the Federal Reserve new powers that include authority to monitor and address broad risks across the economy, say people familiar with the matter. The proposals are expected to include tougher capital requirements for big banks and authority for regulators to take over a large financial firm that is failing.
“We want to accelerate the pace of change on the reform agenda,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in an interview after a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers over the weekend. Mr. Geithner was pressed for action on the regulatory front at the meeting, held just outside London. The administration’s goal is to unveil its proposals before G-20 heads of state meet April 2, to wrest leadership of the thorny topic.
President Barack Obama has pitched a regulatory overhaul as a way to help forestall another financial crisis in the future. Many Democrats and some Republicans blame lax, misdirected or weak oversight in part for precipitating the current one. (The way to forestall another financial crisis is to abolish The Fed and have the government print it’s own currency with no interest/debt attached to it.)
Mr. Geithner’s agenda closely resembles some of the priorities laid out recently by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.), both important players in determining whether the concepts become law. (An agenda that was proposed by Bernanke and Frank; two of the biggest problems in our government today.)
“We are going to be ambitious, but we are going to work with them,” Mr. Geithner said.
A major component of the plan would be new clout for the Federal Reserve, which already runs monetary policy and has accumulated large new powers since the financial crisis began. (Let’s give more power to the people that caused the credit/housing crisis with too much money in circulation which created easy credit/debt — just like the roaring ’20’s. Don’t believe me? Look it up!)
The balkanized structure of financial-services regulation has meant that no one institution had the ability to look broadly at markets to spot signs of systemic risk, such as huge bets made by investment banks on mortgage debt.
Mr. Geithner wants the Fed to have the authority to do so.
Make sure to go to the link and read the rest.
The basic rundown = MORE CONTROL…
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will soon outline proposed changes in financial regulation. They are expected to include:
An enhanced role for the Federal Reserve to monitor and address broad economic risks.
Changes to the way banks are overseen to prevent lenders from shopping among regulators for the easiest supervision.
More transparency and stricter rules for the way money flows between banks.