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Friday, April 24, 2015

#EXIM2015, Obama's PPPs, Goldman Sachs In The "Dark", $1.5M Payday, Massad Speaks, and Yellen Stabilizes

A summary of government activity that impacts investors from Tuesday, April 21, 2015:
On Wednesday the Export-Import Bank named Siemens as the Renewable Exporter of the Year, primarily in honor of Earth Day. This was also "day one" of the bank’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Early in the year the Ex-Im Bank helped Siemens export wind turbines manufactured in Hutchinson, Kansas and Fort Madison, Iowa, to Peru. The deal also represented Ex-Im Bank's first renewable energy deal in Peru which simultaneously supported 400 jobs in Kansas and Iowa, according to the bank's estimates. #EXIM2015.

A white paper was published by the Treasury about President Obama's newly launched Build Investment Initiative (BAII). The goal of the initiative is to increase public-private partnerships (PPPs) thereby "spurring growth".  Congress is still sitting on the Presidents $478 billion proposal to increase funding for infrastructure projects so Obama created BAII as an alternative way to spur growth through private sector help/funds. This paper has some interesting implications for the public finance sector -- expect an in depth analysis coming soon.

The SEC charged a real estate investment firm owned by a Goldman Sachs private equity firm has agreed to pay $640K to settle charges related to eight missing filings. W2007 Grace Acquisition I Inc., a real estate investment firm, is accused of going “dark” in November 2007, and failing to file reports. “When companies cease disclosures to the public and go dark, they must ensure that they accurately count their holders of record, so that investors are not deprived of information they are entitled to under the law.” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. 

Compliance Pays: Employee Awarded ~$1.5M For Helping SEC With Its Case Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it would award $1.4 million to $1.6 million to a compliance professional that provided information about an open enforcement action for a company they work for. The compliance officer is said to have had a "reasonable basis" on which to base his/her actions. The identity of the officer was kept confidential. Here's a quote from the release:
When investors or the market could suffer substantial financial harm, our rules permit compliance officers to receive an award for reporting misconduct to the SEC. This compliance officer reported misconduct after responsible management at the entity became aware of potentially impending harm to investors and failed to take steps to prevent it. -Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. 
Chairman Timothy Massad spoke before the DerivOps North America 2015 conference. He used the speech as an opportunity to provide an update on where the CFTC stands with regard to certain initiatives in the new regulatory framework. In so doing he discusses trading issues, error trades, uncleared swaps, and confirmation data.

New post on SeekingAlpha: Does Yellen Care More About Economic Growth Or Market Stability? You may be under the perception that the Fed wants to grow the economy, but ideally, the Fed just wants to stabilize it. A paper in American Banker recently questioned whether or not stable markets come at a price. In this article I looked at the real reason why Yellen is driving a rate increase, dissenting opinions, and what "stability" may cost us.