SEC Re-Proposes Rule Targeting ABS Conflicts of Interest
The SEC today voted 5-0 to re-propose a controversial 2011 rule required under the Dodd-Frank Act (see FSM Report ABS17) barring the kinds of conflicts of interest all too evident before the great financial crisis related to asset-backed securitizations (ABS). Although the vote was unanimous, GOP commissioners had significant concerns with the proposal, several of which were shared by Democratic Commissioner Crenshaw. Questions on which the SEC will seek comment or where regulatory changes are possible include the extent to which internal firewalls could be considered sufficient under the law as barriers to conflicts of interest and/or if disclosures to investors are a possible alternative.
FinCEN Targets CRE Sanctions Evasion
Building on its sanctions evasion alert last year, FinCEN today issued an alert detailing red flags that may signal potential sanctions evasion via U.S. CRE investment. Citing the lack of visibility in CRE markets and its large proportion of foreign investors, FinCEN again warns that Russian oligarchs may use shell companies, third-parties, or other proxies to circumvent money laundering and beneficial ownership controls. It also lists the use of an offshore private investment vehicle, ownership of CRE through multiple jurisdictions without a clear business purpose, and failure to disclose beneficial ownership information, among others, as potential red flags that may warrant a suspicious activity report.