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May 16, 2012

Smartcompany News and Analysis: Online marketplace Etsy hits Australia, Meet the dentist with the $100m smile, How gamification could help your business, New Google search tweak

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There are a million ways to make a fortune and today we look at another – dental entrepreneur Dr. David Penn has sold a majority stake in his business Southern Cross Dental Laboratories to private equity for $100 million.

If that’s not enough to get you smiling, we also look at online marketplace Etsy's expansion plans in Australia, look at Google’s new search change and help accounting giant PwC, which is cracking down on the way internal meetings are run.

Plus in Entrepreneur Watch, James Thomson translates the messages coming from the top end of town about the economic outlook.

And don’t forget to take the latest SmartCompany-WHK SME Directions survey. We want to hear what you think of the federal budget and how you’re preparing for the new financial year. This is your chance to tell us what you’re concerned about and what’s got you excited. You could even win a special 360ᵒ Entrepreneurial Review from WHK. Take the survey now!

Information Technology
How gamification can power up your business
Australian businesses are using gamification to increase employee productivity and engagement – what are their secrets? BY PATRICK STAFFORD.
Features

Construction and Engineering
More tax red tape for builders
There might not be a lot of work in the building industry at the moment, but builders and contractors will have a little more red tape to keep them busy courtesy of the Tax Office. BY TERRY HAYES.
Features

Aunty B
We want to start a business but we’re not sure what type?
You and your partner don’t seem to be the type of people who follow in other’s footsteps – be brave!
Aunty B

Online sales
Chris Thomas
The appeal of the Chinese market needs no explanation. But how should Australian businesses target it?
Ask the Experts

Business Tech Talk
Paul Wallbank
Businesses are being buried in data, how can they manage it?
Smart Blogs

IT Means Business
Dave Stevens
The benefits that your business can derive from Exchange will depend in large part on how you deploy it.
Smart Blogs

Entrepreneur Watch
James Thomson
SMEs should keep a close eye on what the big players are saying about their sector.
Entrepreneur Watch

GATA | The GATA DISPATCH: Grandich, Sinclair do hand-holding for monetary metals investors.

Grandich, Sinclair do hand-holding for monetary metals investors

1:18p ET Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Monetary metals investors looking for some hand holding might want to read market analyst and mining company consultant Peter Grandich's market letter today:
http://www.grandich.com/2012/05/update-45/
And Jim Sinclair's commentary, headlined, "Remember to Stay Balanced":
http://www.jsmineset.com/2012/05/16/remember-to-stay-balanced/
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

SEC | Enforcement Actions: SEC Charges U.S. Perpetrators in $35 Million International Boiler Room Scheme.

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SEC Charges U.S. Perpetrators in $35 Million International Boiler Room Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2012-93

Washington, D.C., May 16, 2012 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a Hawaii resident and two firms he used to orchestrate a scheme in which he covertly founded small companies, installed management, and recruited overseas boiler rooms that pressured investors into buying their stock while he pocketed more than $2 million in consulting fees from proceeds of the fraudulent stock sales.

Additional Materials


The SEC alleges that Nicholas Louis Geranio worked behind the scenes to create eight U.S.-based companies used to raise money through the sale of Regulation S stock, which is exempt from SEC registration under the securities laws because it is offered solely to investors located outside the United States. Geranio handpicked the management for the companies, primarily Keith Michael Field of Sherman Oaks, Calif., who served as an officer, director, or investor relations representative for each company and also is charged in the SEC’s complaint. Geranio then set up consulting arrangements through his firms — The Good One Inc. and Kaleidoscope Real Estate Inc. — so he could instruct management on how to run the companies and raise money offshore. Geranio extracted consulting fees from the companies, which generally had few or no employees, little or no office space, and no sales or customers.
The SEC alleges that Field drafted misleading business plans, marketing materials, and website information about the companies that were provided to investors as part of fraudulent solicitation efforts by teams of telemarketers operating in boiler rooms that Geranio recruited primarily in Spain. The boiler rooms used high-pressure sales tactics and false statements about the companies to raise more than $35 million from investors. Meanwhile, Geranio instructed Field and others to buy and sell shares in some of the companies to create an illusion of trading activity and manipulate upwards the price of the publicly-traded stock.
“Geranio covertly set up companies and manipulated the market for their stock to profit from aggressive offshore boiler room activity,” said Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Geranio pulled the strings while Field scripted the show for the boiler rooms to bring a payday to everyone but the investors.”
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Geranio was the subject of a previous SEC enforcement action in 2000. In his latest misconduct, he concealed his role from investors and the public at all times by acting through The Good One and Kaleidoscope. The scheme lasted from April 2007 to September 2009. Geranio began by locating and acquiring shell companies to create the issuers used in the scheme: Blu Vu Deep Oil & Gas Exploration Inc., Green Energy Live Inc., Microresearch Corp., Mundus Group Inc., Power Nanotech Inc., Spectrum Acquisition Holdings Inc., United States Oil & Gas Corp., and Wyncrest Group Inc. Geranio then appointed management for these companies, in some cases turning to business associates, friends, or others. For example, the former CEO of Blu Vu was someone Geranio met while kite surfing in Malibu.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Geranio worked behind the scenes to keep the companies’ publicly-traded shares trading at prices conducive to the boiler room sales. He did this by directing Field, personal friends, and others to open accounts and buy or sell shares in at least five of the companies as part of matched orders and manipulative trades that created the false impression of active trading and market value in these stocks. The manipulative trades allowed the boiler rooms to sell the Regulation S shares to overseas investors at higher prices.
The SEC alleges that boiler room representatives recruited by Geranio induced investors by using aggressive techniques consistent with boiler room activity. For instance, they promised immediate and substantial investment returns, convinced investors that they needed to purchase the shares immediately or miss the grand opportunity altogether, and threatened legal action if an investor did not agree to purchase shares that the representatives believed the investor had already agreed to purchase. The boiler rooms also used “advance fee” solicitations, telling investors that only if they purchased shares in one of these companies would the boiler room agree to sell their other shares. Many of the investors were elderly and living in the United Kingdom.
According to the SEC’s complaint, investors were directed to pay for their Regulation S stock by sending money to U.S.-based escrow agents. As arranged by Geranio, the escrow agents paid 60 to 75 percent of the approximately $35 million raised from investors to the boiler rooms as their sales markups, kept 2.5 percent as their own fee, and paid the remaining proceeds back to the companies that Geranio created. The companies (or in some cases the escrow agents) then funneled approximately $2.135 million of the proceeds back to Geranio through The Good One and Kaleidoscope in the form of consulting fees, and paid Field approximately $279,000.
The SEC alleges that Geranio also assisted in diverting $240,000 in investor funds toward an undisclosed down payment on a property to start a Hawaiian wedding planning company.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Geranio, Field, The Good One and Kaleidoscope violated Sections 17(a)(1) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. The complaint alleges that Field also violated Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act and aided and abetted the companies’ violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5(b) thereunder, and Geranio is liable as a control person of The Good One and Kaleidoscope under Exchange Act Section 20(a). The SEC is seeking financial penalties, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, penny stock bars, and permanent injunctions against all of the defendants, as well as officer and director bars against Geranio and Field. The complaint seeks disgorgement and prejudgment interest against relief defendant BWRE Hawaii LLC based on its alleged receipt of investor funds.
The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Ricky Sachar, Carolyn Kurr, and Wendy Kong under the supervision of Josh Felker with assistance from Jim Daly in the Office of International Affairs. Richard Simpson will lead the litigation. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the City of London Police, Macedonian Securities and Exchange Commission, Macedonian Public Prosecutor, Lithuanian Securities Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Comision Nacional del Mercado de Valores (Spain), and Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Switzerland).
# # #



2012-93 May 16, 2012 SEC Charges U.S. Perpetrators in $35 Million International Boiler Room Scheme

U.S. Department of the Treasury | Press Center: Testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Lance Auer before the House Financial Services



Testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Lance Auer before the House Financial Services Financial Institutions Subcommittee on Implementing Title I of the Dodd-Frank Act: Regulating Ssystemically Important Nonbank Financial Institutions


5/16/2012

 
As prepared for delivery
 
WASHINGTON - Chairman Capito, Ranking Member Maloney, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (the Council) rule and guidance for identifying nonbank financial companies that will be subject to enhanced prudential standards and supervision by the Federal Reserve.  I serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the U.S. Treasury, where I helped coordinate the work of the Council’s members in developing the rule and guidance setting out the Council’s process and analysis for evaluating nonbank financial companies for supervision and regulation.
 
In the 2007-2008 financial crisis, financial distress at certain nonbank financial companies contributed to a broad seizing up of financial markets.  These nonbank financial companies were not subject to the type of regulation and consolidated supervision applied to bank holding companies, nor were there mechanisms in place to resolve the largest and most interconnected of these nonbank financial companies without causing further instability. 
 
To address potential risks posed to U.S. financial stability by these companies, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act) authorizes the Council to determine that certain nonbank financial companies will be subject to supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board of Governors) and to enhanced prudential standards.  This authority is one of the Council’s important tools to carry out its statutory duty to identify risks to financial stability and respond to emerging threats.  The Council acts as a collaborative body, chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, that brings together the expertise of the federal financial regulators, an insurance expert appointed by the President, and state regulators.
 
Although the Dodd-Frank Act specifically outlines the substantive considerations and procedural requirements for designating nonbank financial companies, the Council determined that a rulemaking would provide increased transparency and guidance that would be beneficial.  The Council went to great lengths in its rulemaking to foster additional transparency and to obtain input from all interested parties.  The Council issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in October 2010 and a first notice of proposed rulemaking (the First NPR) in January 2011 providing guidance on the statutory criteria and specifying the procedures that the Council will follow in assessing nonbank financial companies for designation.  The Council elected to issue a second notice of proposed rulemaking (the Second NPR) in October 2011 to provide additional details regarding the framework for assessing nonbank financial companies and to offer further opportunity for public comment on the Council’s proposed approach.  After receiving significant input from market participants, non-profits, academics, and other members of the public, the Council’s members worked in close collaboration to develop a final rule.  The final rule, issued in April 2012, describes an analytic framework for designations that provides a consistent approach to determinations that incorporates both quantitative analyses and qualitative judgments.
 
Council members are also working closely with their international counterparts on the process for identifying global systemically important financial institutions.  Treasury and U.S. regulators are active participants in the G-20 and Financial Stability Board (FSB).  G-20 Leaders, at the Seoul Summit in November 2010, endorsed a policy framework developed by the FSB to address the moral hazard posed by systemically important financial institutions.  Most recently, at the Cannes Summit in November 2011, G-20 Leaders requested extension of this policy framework beyond global systemically important banks to nonbanks of global systemic importance.  Council members are continuing to cooperate with their international partners to ensure consistency across frameworks and the development of international standards of the highest quality.  For example, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) is working, in cooperation with the FSB, to extend the FSB’s policy framework to the insurance sector, and is developing criteria and a methodology for identifying global systemically important insurers (G-SIIs).  The Federal Insurance Office (FIO) of the Treasury Department, whose director is also a member of the Council and a member of the IAIS and the IAIS Executive Committee, is pursuing an international consensus that aligns the IAIS criteria, methodology, and timing with the final rule issued by the Council.  At the same time, the Council’s designations under the Dodd-Frank Act are an important part of the U.S. financial reform process, and the Council will continue to move forward in implementing its framework in a timely manner.
 
Process for Determinations
 
The Council has developed a robust process for evaluating whether a nonbank financial company should be subject to Board of Governors supervision and to enhanced prudential standards.  The Council will approach each determination using a consistent framework, but ultimately each designation must be made on a company-specific basis, considering the unique risks to U.S. financial stability that each nonbank financial company may pose.
 
The Dodd-Frank Act requires the Council to assess ten considerations when evaluating nonbank financial companies, as well as any other risk-related factors that the Council deems appropriate.  The Council has grouped these ten statutory considerations into a six-category framework for its analysis.  Three of these six categories seek to assess the potential impact of a company’s financial distress on the broader economy: size, interconnectedness, and substitutability.  The remaining three categories seek to assess the vulnerability of a nonbank financial company to financial distress: leverage, liquidity risk and maturity mismatch, and existing regulatory scrutiny.  An assessment of all six categories will encompass all ten of the statutory considerations.
 
The Council’s interpretive guidance issued with its final rule explains the three-stage process that the Council generally intends to use in assessing nonbank financial companies:
 
Stage 1:  First, the Council will apply uniform quantitative thresholds to identify those nonbank financial companies that will be subject to further evaluation.
Stage 2:  The Council will analyze the nonbank financial companies identified in Stage 1 using a broad range of information available to the Council primarily through existing public and regulatory sources.
Stage 3:  The Council will contact each nonbank financial company that the Council believes merits further review to collect information directly from the company that was not available in the prior stages.  Each nonbank financial company that is reviewed in Stage 3 will be notified that it is under consideration and be provided an opportunity to submit written materials related to the Council’s consideration of the company for a proposed determination. 
 
If the Council approves a proposed determination, the nonbank financial company will receive a written explanation of the basis of the proposed determination.  The company may then request a hearing to contest the proposed determination.  After any hearing, a final determination requires a second vote of the Council. 
 
Stage 1 Analysis
 
Much attention has been focused on the Stage 1 thresholds.  Stage 1 is not intended to identify nonbank financial companies for a final determination.  Instead, the Council developed the uniform quantitative thresholds in Stage 1 as a tool that the Council, nonbank financial companies, market participants, and other members of the public may use to assess whether a nonbank financial company will be subject to further evaluation by the Council.  As noted in the final rulemaking, based on data currently available to the Council through existing public and regulatory sources, the Council has estimated that fewer than 50 nonbank financial companies meet the Stage 1 thresholds.  The Council recognizes, however, that the Stage 1 thresholds may not capture all types of nonbank financial companies and all of the potential ways in which a nonbank financial company could pose a threat to financial stability.  Therefore, the Council reserves the right to subject any nonbank financial company to further review if the Council believes that further analysis of the company is warranted to determine if the company could pose a threat to U.S. financial stability, regardless of whether such company meets the thresholds in Stage 1.
  
A nonbank financial company will be subject to further evaluation beyond Stage 1 if it has at least $50 billion in total consolidated assets and meets or exceeds any one of the following Stage 1 thresholds:
  • $30 billion in gross notional credit default swaps outstanding for which the nonbank financial company is the reference entity;
  • $3.5 billion in derivative liabilities;
  • $20 billion of total debt outstanding;
  • 15 to 1 leverage ratio, as measured by total consolidated assets to total equity; or
  • 10 percent ratio of short-term debt (having a maturity of less than 12 months) to total consolidated assets.
The Stage 1 thresholds and their levels reflect the collective judgment of the Council members, in light of the statutory standards and considerations and an extensive review of applicable data and various analyses.  The Council selected the Stage 1 thresholds based on their applicability to nonbank financial companies that operate in diverse financial industries and because the data underlying these thresholds for a broad range of nonbank financial companies are generally available from existing public and regulatory sources.  The Council reviewed distributions of various samples of nonbank financial companies and bank holding companies to inform its judgment regarding the appropriate thresholds and their quantitative levels.  The Council also considered historical testing of the thresholds to assess whether they would have captured nonbank financial companies that encountered material financial distress during the financial crisis of 2007–2008.     
 
For U.S. nonbank financial companies, the Council intends to apply each of the Stage 1 thresholds based on the global assets, liabilities, and operations of the company and its subsidiaries.  For foreign nonbank financial companies, the Council intends to calculate the Stage 1 thresholds based solely on the U.S. assets, liabilities, and operations of the foreign nonbank financial company and its subsidiaries.  These thresholds add significant transparency to the designation process, beyond the statutory requirements, by helping nonbank financial companies assess whether they are likely to be subject to additional review by the Council.  In addition, the Council may develop additional guidance regarding potential metrics or thresholds, as appropriate, as more data and information about firms and industries, such as asset managers, hedge funds, private equity firms, and swaps entities, become available.  Any additional guidance will be released to the public.
 
While the Board of Governors has not issued regulations under section 170 of the Dodd-Frank Act to exempt certain types or classes of nonbank financial companies from designation, the Stage 1 thresholds provide a significant level of transparency and certainty for the public regarding the nonbank financial companies that are most likely to be subject to evaluation for designation.
 
Stage 2 Analysis
 
In the second stage of the process, the Council will conduct a comprehensive analysis of each nonbank financial company identified in Stage 1.  In contrast to the application of uniform quantitative thresholds to a broad group of nonbank financial companies in Stage 1, the Council intends to evaluate the risk profile and characteristics of each individual nonbank financial company in Stage 2 based on a wide range of quantitative and qualitative industry-specific and company-specific factors.  The analysis will use the six-category analytic framework described above – size, interconnectedness, substitutability, leverage, liquidity risk and maturity mismatch, and existing regulatory scrutiny.  To the extent data are available, the Council also intends in Stage 2 to consider the impact that resolving a failing nonbank financial company could have on U.S. financial stability. 
 
In general, this analysis will be based on a broad range of information already available to the Council through existing public and regulatory sources, including information possessed by the company’s primary financial regulatory agency or home country supervisor, as appropriate, and any information voluntarily submitted by the company.  The Council also intends to fulfill its statutory obligation to rely whenever possible on information available through the Office of Financial Research (the “OFR”), member agencies, or the nonbank financial company’s primary financial regulatory agencies before requesting the submission of information from any nonbank financial company in Stage 3.
 
Based on the Stage 2 analysis, the Council intends to contact those nonbank financial companies that the Council believes merit further evaluation in Stage 3.
 
Stage 3 Analysis
 
The Council will conduct a review of each nonbank financial company in Stage 3 using information collected directly from the nonbank financial company, as well as the information used in the first two stages.  At the beginning of Stage 3, the Council will send a notice of consideration to each nonbank financial company that will be reviewed in Stage 3.  Notified companies will be provided an opportunity to submit materials to the Council.  This opportunity for the company to submit materials to contest the Council’s consideration of the company for a proposed determination is an additional protection, not statutorily required, that the Council provided in its final rule.
 
The notice of consideration likely will also include a request that the nonbank financial company provide information that the Council deems relevant to its evaluation.  This information will generally be collected by the OFR.  Before requiring the submission of reports from any nonbank financial company that is regulated by a Council member agency or any other primary financial regulatory agency, the Council will coordinate with such agencies and will, whenever possible, rely on information available from the OFR or from such agencies.  The Council will also consult with appropriate foreign regulatory authorities, to the extent appropriate.  Council members and their agencies and staffs will maintain the confidentiality of such information in accordance with applicable law.
 
In its analysis under the six-category framework, the Council will consider both quantitative and qualitative information.  The Council expects that the information necessary to conduct an in-depth analysis of a particular nonbank financial company may vary significantly based on the nonbank financial company’s business and activities and the information already available to the Council from existing public sources and domestic or foreign regulatory authorities.  Information relevant to the Council’s analysis may include confidential business information such as internal assessments, internal risk management procedures, funding details, counterparty exposure or position data, strategic plans, resolvability, potential acquisitions or dispositions, and other anticipated changes to the nonbank financial company’s business or structure that could affect the threat to U.S. financial stability posed by the nonbank financial company.  The Council will also consider qualitative factors that include considerations that could mitigate or aggravate the potential of the nonbank financial company to pose a threat to U.S. financial stability, such as the nonbank financial company’s resolvability, the opacity of its operations, its complexity, and the extent and nature of its existing regulatory scrutiny.
 
The objective of the Stage 3 analysis is to assess whether a nonbank financial company meets one of the statutory standards for a determination: that is, whether the company’s material financial distress, or the nature, scope, size, scale, concentration, interconnectedness, or mix of the activities of the company, could pose a threat to U.S. financial stability. 
 
At the end of Stage 3, based on the results of the analyses conducted during each stage of review, the Council may, by a vote of at least two-thirds of the Council’s voting members then serving, including an affirmative vote by the Chairperson of the Council, make a proposed determination regarding the company.  If a proposed determination is made, the Council will provide the nonbank financial company with a written explanation of the basis of the proposed determination.  The company may request a hearing to contest the proposed determination.  After any hearing, in order to make a final determination, the Council must again vote by a two-thirds majority of the Council’s voting members then serving, including an affirmative vote by the Chairperson.  The Council will publicly announce all of its final determinations, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act.  The Council is also required, by statute, annually to reevaluate currently effective determinations and rescind any determination if the Council determines that the nonbank financial company no longer meets the standards for determination.
 
Revisions to the Rule and Interpretive Guidance Based on Public Comment
 
In response to comments on the First NPR, the Council incorporated numerous additions and changes in the Second NPR.  Most notably, the Council added extensive interpretive guidance that outlined the three-stage process described above, including the addition of the uniform, quantitative Stage 1 thresholds and sample metrics for each item in the six-category analytic framework.  In response to requests from commenters, the Council also added definitions of the terms “threat to the financial stability of the United States” and “material financial distress” with respect to the statutory determination standards to the interpretive guidance, and added a confidentiality provision to the rule.  In addition, the Second NPR included greater safeguards for nonbank financial companies under evaluation, including a requirement for a notice from the Council to companies upon completion of the Council’s evidentiary record in Stage 3, and a 180-day deadline for a proposed determination after that notice is sent; and greater clarity on the process for emergency waivers or modifications of the otherwise applicable procedural requirements.
 
In developing the final rule and guidance, the Council made a number of additional changes in response to comments on the Second NPR.  The final rule provides greater clarity on the confidentiality provisions that will apply to information submitted voluntarily by nonbank financial companies and information that is collected from regulators that are not Council members.  The final rule and guidance also include additional procedural steps to benefit nonbank financial companies and aid the Council’s analysis, including an intention to consult with primary financial regulatory agencies of a company’s significant subsidiaries in Stage 2, when appropriate; an intention to provide at least one business day’s notice to a firm before publicly announcing its designation following a final determination; and additional notice and opportunity for firms to submit information in annual reevaluations of designated companies.  The final rule also provides greater clarity on a number of issues, including the definition of “company”; how the Council may consider managed funds and fund advisors; and several clarifications to the definitions, calculations, and processes for applying the Stage 1 thresholds.
 
Determinations
 
The Council will exercise its judgment as it considers both quantifiable metrics and the unique risks that a particular nonbank financial company may present to the financial system.  This flexibility will allow the Council to address the diverse range of business models among nonbank financial companies.  Moreover, given the dynamic nature of financial markets and the evolution of financial products and services, the Council will need the ability to take such changes into account in its determinations.  Ultimately, in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act, all designations will be based on a determination that a company’s material financial distress – or the nature, scope, size, scale, concentration, interconnectedness, or mix of the activities of the company – could pose a threat to U.S. financial stability.
 
Every designation decision will be firm-specific, and every firm will receive robust due process protections, including the opportunity for judicial review of any final designation.  Even before the Council votes on a proposed designation, a company under consideration will have the opportunity to submit written materials to the Council addressing whether, in the company’s view, it meets the standard for designation.  Only after Council members have reviewed that information will they vote on a proposed designation, which requires the support of two-thirds of the Council (including the affirmative vote of the Chairperson) and after which the Council will provide the company with a written explanation of the basis of the proposed designation.  If challenged, the proposed designation is subject to review through a formal hearing process and another two-thirds Council vote.  The Council must report to Congress annually on all final designations and the basis for such designations.
 
In the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Congress included in the Dodd-Frank Act the authority for the Council to designate nonbank financial companies that could pose a threat to U.S. financial stability.  The designations process described in the Council’s rule and guidance is the result of over a year of dialogue with market participants, non-profits, academics, and members of the public.  The resulting rule and guidance form an important part of the Council’s ability to carry out its statutory duties to identify risks to financial stability and respond to such threats in order to better protect the U.S. financial system.
 
###

Reuters - technology Report: Several brokerages stop taking Facebook IPO orders

Reuters Election 2012 Daily round-up of the day's top news from the campaign trail, the White House and all the politics in between


Several brokerages stop taking Facebook IPO orders
NEW YORK (Reuters) - NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - TD Ameritrade and Fidelity's brokerage arm both stopped accepting orders of Facebook shares as of Tuesday evening, according to representatives.
Apple readies iPhone with bigger screen: sources
TOKYO (Reuters) - Apple Inc plans to use a larger screen on the next-generation iPhone and has begun to place orders for the new displays from suppliers in South Korea and Japan, people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
Sprint CEO sees more telecom M&A's possible
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel believes U.S. regulators are open to large telecom deals despite their opposition to an AT&T Inc deal last year, but Sprint itself will try to avoid doing a big deal until 2014, according to Chief Executive Dan Hesse.
Google revamps U.S. search
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google is revamping the way it handles searches in the United States to give users quick access to answers without leaving the page, the company said.
Facebook boosts IPO size by 25 percent, could top $16 billion
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc increased the size of its initial public offering by almost 25 percent, and could raise as much as $16 billion as strong investor demand for a share of the No.1 social network trumps debate about its long-term potential to make money.
A post-IPO Facebook strategy
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Try as they might, many retail investors won't be able to get shares of Facebook in its first hours of trading.
Analysis: Key to Universal-EMI decision: Has music business lost control?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On the face of it, Universal Music Group's bid to buy a big chunk of EMI stands to make the world's leading music company an even more formidable force, combining Universal's star lineup of Lady Gaga and Rihanna with the British company's deep library of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Katy Perry.
Verizon sees revenue increase from shared plans
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Wireless should see an increase in data revenue after it offers new shared data plans this summer, according to a top executive for parent company Verizon Communications Inc.
Huawei: EU contract plans may signal more curbs
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - China-based Huawei criticized on Wednesday proposals by the European Union to block non-EU companies from lucrative public contracts, saying such a move may pave the way for more restrictions on doing business in the bloc.
Italy Microsoft head in pole for CEO position at RCS: sources
MILAN (Reuters) - Pietro Scott Jovane, CEO of the Italian unit of Microsoft, was in pole position to take over as chief executive of Italian media company RCS MediaGroup, two sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.