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Daily Archives: May 21, 2014

Systemic Risk and the Asset Management Industry

Douglas J. Elliott, Fellow, The Brookings Institution: “The recent devastating global financial crisis has focused policymakers on sources of risk to the financial system that could have spillover effects on the economy as a whole. This search for “systemic risk” has ranged widely, going well beyond the banks that are at the heart of the financial system to include, among others: finance companies and other near-banks; insurers; financial utilities, such as clearing houses; various financial instruments such as derivatives and securitizations; financial market practices such as the use of repurchase agreements; and the asset management industry and its practices. This paper will explore systemic risk in the asset management industry and the appropriate response by US regulators. This is a particularly important area, given the huge volume of assets under management, estimated at as much as $53 trillion. Reference will be made from time to time to a report by the Office of Financial Research of the US Treasury Department (OFR) that was issued in September 2013 entitled Asset Management and Financial Stability. The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) had requested the OFR to study the asset management industry and its practices and their relationship to financial stability issues. The FSOC is a council of the top US financial regulators and is charged with watching over the stability of the US financial system. The Dodd-Frank Act that created the FSOC gave it, and the financial regulators that comprise it, very substantial authority to act to force changes that reduce systemic risk, if they believe it to be necessary. Choices made by the FSOC could have major effects on the asset management industry. Not surprisingly, the OFR report has gained considerable attention, despite its status as solely an initial background report for the FSOC’s use.”

Dangerous By Design – report by National Complete Streets Coalition

“American communities are poised for a renaissance in walking. We’re walking more often, for fun and to get to places in our neighborhood. We turn to WalkScore.com when figuring out where to live and our most walkable places often are among the most economically vibrant in the country. Hundreds of cities have adopted Complete StreetsContinue Reading

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, April 29-30, 2014

“The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday released the attached minutes of the Committee meeting held on April 29-30, 2014.  The minutes for each regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee ordinarily are made available three weeks after the day of the policy decision and subsequently are published in the Board’sContinue Reading

NOAA gives mariners new way to see surface and tidal currents

“A new NOAA National Ocean Service website will provide mariners near real-time coastal ocean surface current observations and tidal current predictions in coastal waters using high frequency (HF) radar, making marine navigation safer for mariners and commercial shippers. The web-based observations are now available for the Chesapeake and San Francisco Bays in areas vital for marine navigation, with additionalContinue Reading

House Hearing Considers 11 Bills that Would Weaken CFPB Protections

News release: “Today at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit of the House Committee on Financial Services, eleven bills will be discussed that will weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and make it harder to protect consumers in the financial marketplace. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proven itself toContinue Reading

Medical debt and credit scores – CFPB

“Information about unpaid medical bills is reported to the nationwide credit reporting agencies (NCRAs) from two sources. It can be reported directly by the medical service provider (e.g., a doctor) or by a third-party debt collection agency that has purchased the debt or been contracted to collect it. The vast majority of medical debt reportedContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Chemical Safety, Federal Contracts and Grants, Federal Protective Service

CHEMICAL SAFETY: Actions Needed to Improve Federal Oversight of Facilities with Ammonium Nitrate, GAO-14-274: Published: May 19, 2014. Publicly Released: May 21, 2014. FEDERAL CONTRACTS AND GRANTS: Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve Suspension and Debarment Programs, GAO-14-513: Published: May 21, 2014. Publicly Released: May 21, 2014. FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE: Protecting Federal Facilities Remains A Challenge, GAO-14-623T: Published: May 21, 2014. Publicly Released:Continue Reading

Consumer Reports: 85% of Shoppers Oppose Internet Ad Tracking

EPIC:  “According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, consumers overwhelmingly object to having their online activities tracked for advertising purposes. The report found that 85% of consumers would not trade even anonymized personal data for targeted ads. Additionally, 76% of consumers said that targeted advertising adds “little or no value” to their shopping activities. For moreContinue Reading

Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions

CRS – Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions, Lauren Ploch Blanchard, Specialist in African Affairs. May 20, 2014 “The United States has offered support to the government of Nigeria to investigate and facilitate the release of almost 300 female students who were abducted from their school in northern Nigeria in April by Boko Haram, a U.S.-designated Foreign TerroristContinue Reading

WaPo – How a backlogged VA determines the true cost of war

Greg Jaffe - “The longest stretch of fighting in American history is producing disability claims at rates that surpass those of any of the country’s previous wars. Nearly half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are filing for these benefits when they leave the military — a flood of claims that has overwhelmed the VA and generated aContinue Reading