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Lacker admits role in 2012 leak, leaves Fed; DOL delays fiduciary rule


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Lacker admits role in 2012 leak, leaves Fed; DOL delays fiduciary rule

On government and regulation, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker abruptly resigned from his post yesterday after admitting that he discussed confidential information concerning policy options at a September 2012 Federal Open Market Committee meeting with a Medley Global Advisors analyst in 2012. No charges will be brought against Lacker.

In his last public remarks before retiring, Fed Board Gov. Daniel Tarullo urged regulators and Congress to tailor Dodd-Frank regulations while continuing work on capital requirements.

Meanwhile, speaking to a room full of business leaders, President Donald Trump promised that a "very major haircut" is coming for the Dodd-Frank Act, and that he is committed to "absolutely destroying these horrible regulations that have been placed on your heads."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in its Consumer Response Annual Report, said it handled 291,400 consumer complaints in 2016, 7% higher than the complaints handled in 2015. Debt collection, credit reporting and mortgages were the top three most-complained-about consumer financial products and services.

Speaking of the CFPB, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing today titled "The 2016 Semi-Annual Reports of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection," with Director Richard Cordray as witness.

The U.S. Department of Labor has postponed the Conflict of Interest Final Rule's applicability date to June 9 from April 10.

The SEC's Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee is meeting today to evaluate the impact of the "order protection rule," a stock market rule that was implemented in 2005 to ensure investors get the best possible price when purchasing stock. However, it contributed to a highly complex and fragmented stock market, argues critics. Reuters reports on this.

And the Fed is accepting applications from individuals who wish to be considered for membership on the Community Advisory Council. New appointees will be announced in the fall.

In the banking scene, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman, President and CEO Jamie Dimon defended his participation in Trump's policy group. In his annual letter to shareholders, he said that the company has tried to position itself as a "reasoned voice" when it comes to regulation. He said the bank is not opposed to all of Dodd-Frank and believes regulators fixed many things that exacerbated the recent financial crisis, but that some regulations have gone "too far" and created adverse consequences. On Brexit, Dimon said JPMorgan is not planning to move many jobs out of Britain in the next two years, but noted that it is preparing for a so-called "hard exit."

Hedge funds Tilden Park Capital Management LP and Prosiris Capital Management LP won a court fight that enables them to collect payouts on defaulted mortgage bonds issued prior to the 2007 housing market crash, in connection with Bank of America Corp.'s $8.5 billion 2011 mortgage settlement, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In other banking news, Bank Mutual Corp. is reducing its branch count. The Milwaukee-based company is selling five retail branches to La Crosse, Wis.-based Marine Credit Union, and plans to consolidate two retail branches in Monona and Neenah, Wis., in June.

Proxy adviser Glass Lewis has recommended that Wells Fargo & Co. shareholders vote against the re-election of six company board members, The Charlotte Observer reports.

In broker-dealer news, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and a former investment adviser representative agreed to pay about $8 million to settle the SEC's charges that they improperly invested clients in more expensive class A shares of mutual funds rather than less expensive institutional shares for which they were eligible.

Park City Capital Inc. wants Adcare Health Systems Inc. Chairman and CEO William McBride to resign. The investor, which along with affiliates owns about 6.1% of AdCare Health, said McBride's claim of having received a master's degree from the University of California Los Angeles could not be verified.

And on private equity, Kayne Anderson Acquisition Corp. announced the closing of its initial public offering of 35 million units. The offering was priced at $10.00 per unit, resulting in gross proceeds of $350 million.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Swiss regulator halts probe into UBS; Daiwa mulls new European subsidiary

Europe: Commerzbank pink slips; RBS' plan B probed; JPMorgan chief talks Brexit

Middle East & Africa: Moody's puts SA banks on review for downgrade; Al Hilal gets new CEO

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.57% to 24,400.80, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.27% to 18,861.27.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.09% to 7,328.53, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.15% to 984.38.

On the macro front

The ADP employment report, Gallup U.S. job creation index, PMI services index, ISM non-manufacturing index, the EIA petroleum status report and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes are due out today.

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