Peter Feltman

Banks see Fed payments proposal opening door to fintech rivals
Banking industry pushes for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services

A plan by the Federal Reserve to build its own network to transfer funds quickly has pitted technology firms seeking a foothold in the financial sector against banks that have traditionally dominated the payments business. 

Tech firms see the new payment system as an opportunity to get into the payments business, and banks, facing a new rival, are pushing for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services, according to advocates on both sides of the issue.

Regulators confront technology that may upend securities trade
Distributed ledgers may remove the need for intermediaries such as stock exchanges.

New technology could change the way the securities industry has worked for decades by removing the need for trusted central parties such as stock exchanges.

The potentially disruptive technology is known as the distributed ledger, a decentralized database run by its users rather than a single authority. Current and former financial regulators, academics and trading industry experts said during a recent financial technology panel that these ledgers, which in theory can’t be changed, may remove the need for such intermediaries as stock exchanges.

This government agency wants to partner with fintech firms. But a gift rule is blocking it
U.S. is falling behind in fintech innovation, regulators warn

If government employees need new software to test how a financial technology project might work — software they lack expertise to write themselves — they can’t get it from the industry because rules deem such software as a gift and block the government from receiving it.

The result, according to regulators, is the rules are slowing down U.S. innovation in fintech, leaving the country to fall behind others.

In a volatile crypto market, stable coins find increasing appeal
Banks, regulators mull virtual currency with less risk

The cryptocurrency rollercoaster, with its price peaks and valleys, has financial technology proponents looking to a new type of virtual currency that promises the benefits of being virtual while limiting the risk.

Banks, regulators and industry leaders are studying, or have already started to implement, so-called stable coins. They tout the potential to speed up payments, cut money transfer costs for consumers, and help citizens of foreign countries whose currencies are under duress.

European regulatory chief wants new cryptocurrency rules
Aim is to prevent ‘substantial risk’ to consumers

The chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority has indicated he supports applying financial instrument regulation to assets such as bitcoin to help protect investors.

Without new rules, Steven Maijoor said, digital assets will likely fall outside of the regulation of Europe’s securities laws.

Government plays hardball on SEC headquarters lease
GAO spurns landlords, keeping a contract option to buy SEC buildings — potentially at a huge profit

The federal government will keep an option to buy the buildings that house the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. — potentially at a huge profit — spurning a request from private landlords to change the terms.

The property owners wanted to remove a provision that allows the agency to purchase the buildings it inhabits at a predetermined price. In a decision released Feb. 8, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which evaluates protests regarding government business opportunities, said it wouldn’t alter the terms of the bidding process.

SEC seeks private vendors to translate blockchain data
The commission wants to hire a private vendor to gather data from the “most widely used blockchain ledgers” to help it police digital assets

The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to hire a private vendor to gather data from the “most widely used blockchain ledgers” to help it police digital assets.

The agency didn’t name the ledgers but its requirement that they be widely used suggests the SEC would include those underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum.

Economic Consultant to Help With Transition at 3 Regulatory Agencies
Trump pick has a hands-off approach to regulation

President-elect Donald Trump has named an economic consultant who has shown a hands-off approach to regulation to help his administration with the transition at three financial regulatory agencies.

SEC Close to New Investment Fund Liquidity Requirements

New rules are coming soon on mutual fund and asset management, covering liquidity, leverage and derivatives, according Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White.

These upcoming rules will be what White called “an ambitious agenda to modernize and enhance our regulatory regime,” during a speech in Washington.

An Appreciation of Alan Dixon

It was December 1988, and I was three weeks into my new job working for Sen. Alan J. Dixon, D-Ill., when I picked up the phone and heard from the mayor of a small town 125 miles from Chicago.

'Act of Congress' Details Sausage-Making That Was Dodd-Frank Law

Washington Post veteran Robert Kaiser’s latest book, “Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t,” provides an insider’s view of the making of Congress’ response to the 2008 market crash, the Dodd-Frank Act.

He begins with a Sept. 18, 2008, meeting of congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion, arguing that another Great Depression was looming. Bernanke warned that Wall Street meltdowns are always followed by depressions in the rest of the economy. Main Street cannot be shielded from Wall Street, and Congress needed to act quickly, he warned.