Soon enough, you’ll be able to call this the year of the regulator.
With each passing week, it seems like there’s another hot new case that Canadian and U.S. regulators -- and even those in the U.K. -- are ready to reveal to the media.
The LIBOR investigation is clearly on the top of everyone’s minds, but there’s also Capital One’s $210-million charge, brought forward by the new U.S. consumer watchdog, for deceptive marketing tactics; HSBC’s admission that it laundered money for terrorists and drug cartels; and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission’s allegations against Royal Bank of Canada for what it believes were wash trades -- which have yet to be proven.
Here in Canada, the Ontario Securities Commission and three other provincial regulators slapped strong conditions on Maple Group Acquisition Corp.’s pending takeover of TMX, and on Wednesday, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada announced draft guidelines to protect against “manipulative and deceptive trading practices” used by automated order systems, or electronic traders.
Given the activity, regulators are laying down the law with gusto. And because the general public is so receptive to their cases, they’re feeling good about themselves. The resulting ego boost is likely to lead to even more cases, so what we’re seeing now could just be the tip.