United States

State Street Global Advisors introduced SPDR Gender Diversity Index E.T.F.The New York Times reported that State Street Global Advisors would be introducing its 159th exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gender Diversity Index E.T.F., on Tuesday, March 8th. The fund intends to gain market-rate returns by investing in US companies that “are leaders in advancing women through gender diversity on their boards of directors and in management.” It will track an index of 125 to 150 stocks that have been picked from the Russell 1000 index and have scored high on a scale of gender metrics. (3/4/2016) The New York Times. See also ETF Trends.

SEC director says that his division analyzes data from more than merely 10% of advisers. Responding to investor protection concerns regarding the fact that the Securities and Exchange Commission examines per year about 10% of the more than 12,000 investment advisers it oversees, the SEC is now drafting a rule that would allow third parties to conduct examinations. InvestmentNews reported that Marc Wyatt, director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations, noted to an audience of compliance professionals that they should not misread the 10% annual examination rate for investment advisers. (2/25/2016) InvestmentNews.

JPMorgan analysts put forth new theory on what caused the 2014 ‘flash rally’ in US Treasuries. Bloomberg reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts have a new theory regarding what actually caused the “flash rally” in US Treasuries on October 15, 2014. The analysts noted that the problems essentially started in the cash market, mentioning that it was much easier to trade in the futures market on that day. (2/25/2016) Bloomberg.

Financial Accounting Standards Board issues final rule requiring companies to report leases. DealBook reported on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) issuance of a final rule that changes how companies account for most of their leases. The FASB, which sets accounting rules, issued the Accounting Standards Update (ASU) to improve financial reporting about leasing transactions. The ASU, which affects all companies and other organizations that lease assets including real estate, airplanes, and manufacturing equipment, will require organizations that lease assets to recognize on their balance sheets the assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by those leases. (2/25/2016) DealBook.

SEC and Labor Department differ over retirement advice rule. Reuters reported that staffers at the SEC and the US Labor Department clashed over a contentious plan to limit potential conflicts of interest among brokers who give retirement advice. The plan would require brokers to act in their clients’ best interests when advising about individual retirement accounts. Many Republicans and some Democrats oppose the plan, saying it would drive up customers’ costs and curb commissions. (2/24/2016) Reuters.

Canada

OSC reports growth in enforcement activity in 2015. The Ontario Securities Commission reported on its increased enforcement activity in 2015. In 2015, the OSC commenced 31 cases (18 before the OSC Tribunal and 13 before the courts), compared to 22 in 2014. OSC press release.

CSA recommends three steps to protect yourself from investment fraud. In honor of March being Fraud Prevention Month, the Canadian Securities Administrators issued a press release encouraging the public to research investments when making any investing decisions and recommending that investors follow three steps to guard against investment fraud. (3/4/2016) CSA press release.

Canadian regulators implement passport expansion and automatic cease trade orders in multiple jurisdictions. The CSA announced the implementation of amendments that will expand the passport system to allow issuers to file a single application with their principal regulator to cease to be a reporting issuer in all jurisdictions where they have this status. The CSA is also implementing a new rule that will allow the automatic application in multiple jurisdictions of cease trade orders resulting from the failure to file continuous disclosure documents. (3/3/2016) CSA press release.

Canadian securities regulators release IIROC Oversight Review Report. The CSA released the Oversight Review Report of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada that evaluates whether specific regulatory processes are operating effectively, and outlines findings that are significant and require corrective action. (3/3/2016) CSA press release.

Canadian securities regulators adopt fundamental changes to take-over bid regime. The CSA published final amendments to the regime that governs take-over bids in Canada. The changes, as reflected in National Instrument 62-104 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids and National Policy 62-203 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids, will enhance the quality and integrity of the take-over bid regime while rebalancing the dynamics among bidders, target company boards of directors and target company shareholders during a take-over bid. In a fundamental change, the new take-over bid regime will require that all non-exempt take-over bids meet a minimum tender requirement of more than 50% of the outstanding securities that are subject to the bid (excluding securities owned by the bidder itself or its joint actors). (2/25/2016) CSA press release.

Canadian securities regulators seek comment on derivatives rule relating to mandatory central counterparty clearing. Members of the CSA published for comment Proposed National Instrument 94-101 Mandatory Central Counterparty Clearing of Derivatives and its companion policy, which introduces requirements for central counterparty clearing of certain over-the-counter derivatives transactions. The 90-day comment period is open until May 24, 2016. (2/24/2016) CSA press release.