Increase in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Guarantee Fees

On August 31, the FHFA announced that it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise guarantee fees on single family mortgages by an average of 10 basis points.  For loans exchanged for mortgage-backed securities, the increases will be effective with settlements starting December 1.  For loans sold for cash, the increases will be effective with commitments starting November 1.  FHFA Release.

SEC Risk Alert on Pay-to-Play and MSRB

On August 31, the SEC issued an alert on compliance with MSRB Rule G-37, which limits political contributions by municipal securities professionals to campaigns of public officials of issuers with whom they are doing or seek to do business.  The SEC’s concerns include: (i) compliance with the rule’s ban on doing business with a municipal issuer within two years of a political contribution to officials of the issuer by any of the firm’s municipal finance professionals; (ii) possible recordkeeping violations; (iii) failure to file accurate and complete forms with regulators; and (iv) inadequate supervision.  SEC ReleaseSEC Risk Alert.

European Commission Consultation on Benchmarks and Market Indices

On September 5, the European Commission launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to comment on possible new rules for the production and use of indices servicing as benchmarks in financial contracts.  The consultation covers all benchmarks, including commodities and real estate price indices, in addition to interest rate benchmarks such as LIBOR.  The consultation will run through November 15.  EC Release. EC Consultation.