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Volcker Rule FAQs Laid Out by Several Regulatory Agencies
Dec 20, 2013

Three federal financial institution regulatory agencies have jointly issued a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document to provide clarification and guidance to banking entities regarding investments in “Covered Funds” and whether collateralized debt obligations backed by trust preferred securities (TruPS CDOs) could be determined to be Covered Funds under the final rules to implement section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The FAQs are intended to clarify that banking entities that have holdings in TruPS CDOs are not required to sell these holdings immediately under the final rules, but instead may use the conformance period to determine if they can be brought into conformance by the end of the conformance period, which is July 21, 2015. The document released by the agencies provides an overview of some of the key legal issues banking entities should consider in determining whether holdings of TruPS CDOs are subject to the provision of the final rules implementing section 619, commonly known as the Volcker Rule. The issues identified and discussed in the document are whether a TruPS CDO qualifies in its current form as a Covered Fund under the final rules; whether it can be restructured or otherwise conformed to the final rules by the end of the conformance period of July 21, 2015; and whether a bank’s investment in the CDO constitutes an ownership interest. The final rules were approved by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Dec. 10, 2013. “Unfortunately, the document released today isn’t a permanent solution to a very real problem that would have serious implications for community banks,” Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “We’ve been in calls and meetings with community bankers from across the country who have said that their capital and earnings will be significantly impacted by this provision. ICBA will continue to work vigorously for a permanent solution on behalf of the nation’s community banks, which didn’t cause the financial crisis in the first place.”
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