The end of LIBOR to be anything but simple

Link: https://www.pionline.com/investing/end-libor-be-anything-simple

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LIBOR, which has been plagued by cases of bank manipulation, is set at different currencies, including the U.S. dollar, British pound sterling and euro. New LIBOR-based contracts will cease at the end of 2021, but in November, the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. announced that the ICE Benchmark Administration, which administers LIBOR, would explore ceasing the most utilized U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors in June 2023 instead of late 2021. On March 5, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority confirmed the 2021 and 2023 cessation dates for LIBOR, although it retains the option for a synthetic calculation if needed.

The extension to June 2023 would allow more time for outstanding contracts to mature, thereby reducing the chance of potential disruptions, U.S. regulators said in a December statement.

But the majority of contracts extend beyond mid-2023.

Author(s): Brian Croce

Publication Date: 8 March 2021

Publication Site: Pensions & Investments

Libor Enters ‘Final Chapter’ as Global Regulators Set End Dates

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-05/libor-s-end-now-within-sight-as-u-k-s-fca-sets-final-dates

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Regulators kicked off the final countdown for the London interbank offered rate Friday, ordering banks to be ready for the end of a much maligned benchmark that’s been at the heart of the international financial system for decades.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that the final fixings for most rates will take place at end of this year, with just a few key dollar tenors set to linger for a further 18 months.

Author(s): William Shaw, Silla Brush, Alex Harris

Publication Date: 5 March 2021

Publication Site: Bloomberg

Push Is On for States to Ban Organ Transplant Discrimination

Excerpt:

Denying organ transplants to people with intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities like Down syndrome or autism is common in the United States, even though it is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to one widely cited 2008 study, 44% of organ transplant centers said they would not add a child with some level of neurodevelopmental disability to the organ transplant list. Eighty-five percent might consider the disability as a factor in deciding whether to list the person.

Author(s): Sara Reardon

Publication Date: 8 March 2021

Publication Site: Kaiser Health News

Criticizing Government Accounting

Excerpt:

Although for more than half of my 53-year career in auditing, I managed to avoid any involvement with government GAAP. Yet I found myself interested in two articles about it in the April CPA Journal: “Is Government GAAP Necessary?” by Sheila Weinberg, and “The Future of Government Accounting Standards” by Joel Black. What appealed to me about both articles is that they were critical of the archaic, shortsighted, and conceptually groundless second set of “basic” financial statements prepared on the hybrid “modified accrual basis” that have been required in addition to full accrual financial statements since 1999 by GASB 34. Both authors are to be complimented.

The Black article is a scholarly summary of the long history of government GAAP and an explanation of the rationale for several differences from commercial GAAP. Accordingly, I believe the article would make a useful training tool for young staff. Black’s criticism of modified accrual basis reporting and his implied support for probable future improvements to the current model that he characterizes as “not major” follow:

Author(s): Howard B. Levy, CPA, Sheila A. Weinberg. Founder & CEO, Truth in Accounting

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: CPA Journal

National Security Risks of Late-Stage Capitalism

Excerpt:

There are two problems to solve. The first is information asymmetry: buyers can’t adequately judge the security of software products or company practices. The second is a perverse incentive structure: the market encourages companies to make decisions in their private interest, even if that imperils the broader interests of society. Together these two problems result in companies that save money by taking on greater risk and then pass off that risk to the rest of us, as individuals and as a nation.

The only way to force companies to provide safety and security features for customers and users is with government intervention. Companies need to pay the true costs of their insecurities, through a combination of laws, regulations, and legal liability. Governments routinely legislate safety — pollution standards, automobile seat belts, lead-free gasoline, food service regulations. We need to do the same with cybersecurity: the federal government should set minimum security standards for software and software development.

Author(s): Bruce Schneier

Publication Date: 1 March 2021

Publication Site: Schneier on Security

Why reopening US schools is so complicated

Link: https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/03/05/1020304/reopening-us-schools-complicated/

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The US can look to Europe for how this played out: European countries tried in-person learning last fall but began closing schools as B.1.1.7 swept through the continent. By December, countries including the Netherlands and Germany had shut down their schools in the face of rising case numbers. The CDC says it may need to update school reopening guidelines in light of new information about variants. 

This task is made more difficult because tracking the spread of variants in the US is tough right now. Compared with other countries, it has very few labs doing this work, and while more funding will help, Friedrich says there will still be a gap.

Author(s): Mia Sato

Publication Date: 5 March 2021

Publication Site: MIT Technology Review

How To Stop The Manchin Presidency And Raise The Minimum Wage

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/how-to-stop-the-manchin-presidency

Excerpt:

Any standalone, substantial minimum wage bill will face a filibuster requiring 60 votes to overcome it. Despite the White House fantasizing that Republicans might support a serious minimum wage increase, there probably are not 10 GOP senate votes to break such a filibuster. 

Meanwhile, if Democrats try to attach a minimum wage increase to a bill that Republicans actually really want to vote for — say, the National Defense Authorization Act — Republicans could move to simply strike it out of that underlying bill, which enough conservative Democrats might agree to, and then the GOP would vote en masse for final passage of the stripped-down legislation.

Everyone in Washington knows this script, so a move to attach a minimum wage to a bill like this would likely be a performative gesture, but not a legislative victory.

Author(s): David Sirota

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

Greensill Capital planning to file for insolvency in U.K. this week

Link: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/greensill-capital-planning-to-file-for-insolvency-in-u-k-this-week-11614789098

Excerpt:

Embattled financial startup Greensill Capital plans to file for insolvency in the U.K. this week, as it simultaneously moved toward a deal to sell its operating business to Apollo Global Management APO, -1.69%, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal with Apollo, which could be struck by the end of the week, would be part of a Greensill insolvency, similar to the U.S. bankruptcy process, the people said.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported the two sides were in talks for a deal that would pay Greensill around $100 million. Through the acquisition Apollo would take over Greensill’s core operations and inherit clients that generate around $7 billion in assets, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Author(s): Julie Steinberg and Ben Dummett

Publication Date: 3 March 2021

Publication Site: MarketWatch

Wall Street wants to end Trump-era ESG fund rule for 401(k) plans

Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/04/wall-street-wants-to-end-trump-era-esg-fund-rule-for-401k-plans.html

Excerpt:

The Labor Department issued a rule in October, during the Trump administration, that experts say would curb use of ESG funds in 401(k) plans.

Money managers and other stakeholders are pushing the Biden administration to scrap the rule or agree not to enforce it, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Investor demand for ESG funds has grown significantly. 401(k) plans represent a big untapped growth source.

Author(s): Greg Iacurci

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: CNBC

The Culture Wars Are Coming to the SEC

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-culture-wars-are-coming-to-the-sec-11614813925

Excerpt:

At Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Pat Toomey pressed Gary Gensler on the scope of the SEC’s authority to regulate politics. Let’s say “a publicly-traded company spends a financially insignificant amount of money on, let’s say, electricity,” Mr. Toomey proposed. “Is it material whether that electricity came from renewable sources or not?”

Mr. Gensler resisted answering, saying “it may not be material or it may be material.” This isn’t reassuring. The concept of materiality is crucial to securities regulation because it defines the transparency required for investors to make prudent decisions. The SEC is supposed to protect investors from fraud by making sure they have access to accurate information about a firm’s performance.

But progressives want to use the agency’s watchdog responsibilities as a guise to bend finance in service of unrelated political goals, like climate. Mr. Gensler seemed to reserve the right to impose such politicized disclosure requirements, even when the information is “financially insignificant.”

Author(s): Editorial board

Publication Date: 3 March 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Pritzker must provide discovery in COVID-19 challenge or face sanctions

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/pritzker-must-provide-discovery-in-covid-19-challenge-or-face-sanctions/article_41683d52-7b81-11eb-8a54-e391cea9ed33.html#new_tab

Excerpt:

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has a Wednesday deadline to start turning over documents justifying why it ordered restaurants to limit their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney Greg Earl, with Myers, Earl and Nelson P.C., represents Geneva-based FoxFire restaurant, which sued the governor last fall.

“FoxFire is continuing this fight because what happens if another strain, that’s what we’ve heard of, another strain from Europe or South Africa hits and the governor decides to put in another 30-day window,” Earl said.

The governor has already issued 12 months of executive orders related to the pandemic. His most recent order issued Feb. 5 expires March 7.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Risk Rating 2.0

Link: https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance/work-with-nfip/risk-rating

Excerpt:

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is redesigning its risk rating by leveraging industry best practices and current technology, FEMA will deliver rates that are fair, make sense, are easier to understand and better reflect a property’s unique flood risk. FEMA calls this effort Risk Rating 2.0.

alert – warning
Risk Rating 2.0 implementation has been deferred To October 1, 2021.

While the agency initially announced that new rates for all single-family homes would go into effect nationwide on October 1, 2020, some additional time is required to broaden the agency’s analyses of the proposed rating structure across its entire book of business, to include its relationship to communities behind levees. Therefore, FEMA decided to adjust implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 by one year to October 1, 2021.

Date Accessed: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: FEMA