regulation

Big Oil Isn't as Profitable as Everyone Thinks

Americans spend a lot of money on oil: about $632 billion a year. And the big oil producers report eye-popping annual profits, like ExxonMobil's $41 billion in 2011. Numbers like that may make you feel like we're getting robbed at the pump ... but it's not that simple.

Court Upholds Rules to Stop 'Deceptive' Airfare Advertising

The government can regulate airlines' "unfair and deceptive" advertising practices by requiring them to show consumers a total ticket price that includes taxes and fees in their ads, the U.S. Court of Appeals said Tuesday, rejecting an industry challenge.

New Safe-Sex Porn Law Could Cost L.A. Billions

Many industries complain that new government regulations are bad for business; now, we're hearing it from the adult film biz. A proposed L.A. city regulation to require porn actors to use condoms has adult film makers threatening to leave Tinseltown -- and to take the lion's share of an $8 billion-a-year industry with them.

Alabama County Avoids Bankruptcy Filing

Jefferson County, Alabama's, sewer debt crisis is coming to a close. Commissioners voted Friday on a deal framework that will let it restructure and partially write off $3.14 billion debt, saving the county from filing for Chapter 9 in what would have been the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Oil Speculators: Manipulators or Savvy Investors?

As the price of oil has soared over the past few months, an army of commentators has accused "speculators" of manipulating the oil market to profit from the misery of the American people. But how much are these big investors to blame for our pain at the pump, and how much is simply a matter of supply and demand?

Goodbye, Free Checking; Hello, New Bank Fees

The era of free checking accounts is coming to an end. Many consumers will face an extra $144 a year in account fees, plus higher dues for their debit cars, and increased ATM charges, too. It's all part of a banking industry backlash against last year's consumer friendly financial reforms.

Obama Orders Review of Federal Business Regulations

President Barack Obama said he will order an overhaul of U.S. business regulations in a bid to cut unnecessary red tape and improve consumer protection. In an opinion piece in today%u2019s Wall Street Journal, Obama said the overhaul will address issues such as the need for new safety rules for infant formula and a faster procedure for approving new medical devices.

What Facebook's Goldman Deal Says About Tech IPOs

Facebook and many other tech startups have realized that the hassles and headaches of an IPO in the U.S. aren't always worthwhile. Thanks to willing venture capitalists and private investors, it's easier than ever to avoid the lure of going public.

New Year Hurdles: Top 10 Challenges for CEOs in 2011

With the recession over -- in a sense, anyway -- some CEOs are just happy to still be standing. After three years of turmoil, there's even cautious optimism about the year ahead. But for those whose job is to steer a company to profits and growth, there are plenty of worries ahead. Here's our list of top CEO challenges for 2011.

U.K. Banks Face Government Levy

Five U.K. banks may have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in a levy that aims to charge them for the risks they pose to the country%u2019s economy. The planned bank levy will raise a total of 2.5 billion pounds ($3.59 billion) a year from 2012 onwards, The Wall Street Journal said.

BMW Allegedly Blocked Car Sales to Swiss Citizens

Swiss antitrust authorities are investigating BMW for allegedly blocking vehicle sales to Swiss citizens in some parts of Europe. The Swiss Competition Commission said it has information that BMW distribution branches in the European Economic Area are barring sales of BMW and Mini brand vehicles to Swiss citizens, Bloomberg News said.

Why Happy Meals Toys are Controversial in California

Forget California's huge budget deficits, high unemployment levels and nasty political campaigns. One of the most polarizing issues in the Golden State today is about a proposal to ban Happy Meals toys in San Francisco.

Regulators Probe 'Inherently Deceptive' Insurance Marketing

In three states, regulators have started or widened investigations into insurers after a judge described MetLIfe Inc%u2019s (MET) marketing of asset accounts as "inherently deceptive." On Sept. 10, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno, Nevada said that MetLife gave customers the misimpression that its Total Control Account Money Market Option account for death benefits was protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Bloomberg News said.

Regulators to Take Aim at Bank 'Window Dressing'

Regulators may outline new rules to target so-called window dressing, a practice that some banks use to temporarily reduce their debt levels before reporting their finances. The SEC is scheduled to raise the matter at a meeting on Friday, then issue proposals for public comment, The Wall Street Journal said.

HSBC Chairman Will Step Down to Become UK Trade Minister

Stephen Green, the chairman of British bank HSBC (HBC), will step down to become the United Kingdom%u2019s new Trade Minister, BBC News reported. The appointment will be announced later today, BBC News said without naming its sources.

Two Lehman Brothers Units Need Help to Avoid Failing

Lehman Brothers Holdings, the once great Wall Street firm that went bankrupt at the height of the financial crisis, says it will have to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into two struggling units to avoid failures that could cost the investment bank billions.

Lawyers: New CEO Pay Disclosure Rule a 'Logistical Nightmare'

A new rule forcing U.S. companies to disclose the ratio between their chief executive%u2019s pay and that of the typical employee is a "logistical nightmare%u201D", lawyers say. "It%u2019s just not do-able for a large company with tens of thousands of employees worldwide," Richard Susko, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb told The Financial Times.

India May Temporarily Suspend BlackBerry Services

BlackBerry services in India may be temporarily suspended if a meeting on Thursday does not address security concerns, Reuters reported. Like several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, India is asking for access to encrypted communication used by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM).

BofA Working to Free Itself of Confidential Regulatory Constraint

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) is working to be released from a "secret U.S. sanction" imposed during the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported. The confidential agreement restricts the bank%u2019s ability to raise dividends and forces it to get regulatory approval for other major decisions, The Wall Street Journal reported without naming its sources.

House Votes to Lift Oil Spill Liability Cap

A bill that passed the House of Representatives on Friday would, among other things, eliminate the $75 million cap on liabilities related to oil spills. The overhaul of the nation's offshore drilling regulations would require oil companies to pay the full cost involved with any spills.

Labor Department Issues New Rules on 401(k) Fees

New rules mean that companies that provide 401(k) plans and services to employers will have to spell out their fees. Over 10 different types of fees and expenses can be charged against a 401(k) account for services such as recordkeeping and administration, according to The Associated Press. Many account holders don%u2019t realize the fees exist, as they are often taken out the account%u2019s investment gains.

Distressed Florida Banks Ask For Break From Capital-Raising

Florida banks are asking federal regulators for a break from government-ordered capital raising as they struggle with the impact of the real estate bust and the BP oil spill. Florida%u2019s top banking lobbyist sent a letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Shelia Bair and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, asking that all local banks get a 12-month reprieve from higher capital requirements, loan appraisals and new regulatory sanctions, the Wall Street Journal reported.