Federal Reserve Financial-Services Systems Disrupted for Hour

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/federal-reserve-reports-several-business-lines-disrupted-by-operational-error-11614194912


One of the services taken offline was the Fedwire Funds Service, which the Fed describes as “the premier electronic funds-transfer service that banks, businesses and government agencies rely on for mission-critical, same-day transactions.” Entities use the service to send or receive payments, settle positions with other financial institutions and to submit tax payments, among other activities.

Also affected were FedACH, an automated clearinghouse network that enables debit and credit transactions, and Fedwire Securities, which provides transfer and settlement services for securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, government agencies and government-sponsored housing enterprises.

The first service to be restored — at 2:17 p.m. ET — was the Fed’s central bank programs, which include setting interest rates and allowing financial institutions to review and manage the money they hold at the Fed, called reserves. Fedwire and FedACH were back shortly before 3 p.m.

Author(s): Paul Kiernan and Orla McCaffrey

Publication Date: 24 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Robinhood, Citadel CEOs Grilled by Lawmakers in Wake of GameStop Saga

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/robinhood-citadel-others-prepare-for-the-gamestop-spotlight-in-washington-11613655854?mod=djemwhatsnews


Robinhood Markets Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev offered an apology for the company’s decision to temporarily curb trading in some stocks, including GameStop Corp. , on Jan. 28 amid extraordinary volatility.

“Despite the unprecedented market conditions in January, at the end of the day, what happened is unacceptable to us,” Mr. Tenev said after being questioned at a congressional hearing Thursday.

His apology came after House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) interrupted the Robinhood CEO during his opening remarks. Her request was unusual as witnesses are allowed to make opening statements before taking questions from lawmakers.

Author(s): Paul Kiernan and Peter Rudegeair

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

GameStop Frenzy Is Tough Call for Regulators Focused on Transparency

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/gamestop-frenzy-is-tough-call-for-regulators-focused-on-transparency-11612693802


One reason regulators might be stymied is a lack of political will to limit trading by small investors. When Robinhood temporarily blocked its customers from trading GameStop shares during the frenzy, a cry went up about market access. The big losses those little guys inflicted on some hedge funds by bidding up the stock was seen as a democratization of the market. Any effort to derail that could be criticized as protection for Wall Street.

“Most people believe that middle-class people, working people, should be able to take their chances on the stock market,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), who leads the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview.

The consensus among regulators so far is that the episode didn’t expose major problems with the market’s plumbing. The Treasury Department said Thursday that regulators believe the market’s “core infrastructure was resilient.” The department said the SEC is reviewing “whether trading practices are consistent with investor protection and fair and efficient markets,” and is expected to release a report on the factors that influenced it.

Author(s): Paul Kiernan and Dave Michaels

Publication Date: 7 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal