regulation

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.

German Lower House Passes Bill to Ban Naked Short-Selling

German lawmakers in the lower house of parliament passed a bill banning naked short-selling of eurozone government bonds, credit default swaps based on those bonds and stocks in German companies. The bill aims to counter volatility of the euro currency, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

Lawmakers Forced to Reopen Wall Street Reform Bill

Democrats said Tuesday they would reopen the Wall Street reform bill in an effort to secure enough support for its passage after Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, one of the few Republicans to vote for the bill, said he could no longer support it due to the inclusion of a $20 billion bank tax.

How finance reform affects us directly

The historic finance reform bill hammered out by a House and Senate panel is 2,000 pages long, but WalletPop had its yellow highlighter out to spare...

FCC Blasted Again Over Closed-Door Internet Meetings

Public interest groups kept up their assault on the FCC's closed-door broadband policy meetings after the agency decided to bypass standard disclosure rules, effectively shutting out the public. One group took out a full page ad in The Washington Post blasting the meetings.

Should Your Teen Be Allowed to Buy a Real 'Lightsaber'

The Spyder III Arctic Pro is a hand-held laser that looks remarkably like a lightsaber. That wouldn't be a problem, if it weren't almost as much of a menace as the fictional weapon. And with lasers getting rapidly more powerful and less expensive, regulation is falling behind.

Risky Business: Derivatives Dwarf the World's GDP

One of the biggest risks to the world's financial health is the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market. It's complex, it's unregulated, and it ought to be of concern to world leaders that its notional value is 20 times the size of the world economy.

Banks Face Financial Doomsday

The price the largest U.S. banks pay to borrow money is going to skyrocket in the coming years, and new regulations will put a big crimp in their profits. Add in the fact that the government won't bail them out again, and you have a bleak scenario for financial firms.

The New Flight Delay: Can't Take Off Without Granola Bars

New federal regulations intended to ensure you won't find yourself trapped for hours on a plane with no food or water have resulted in a new type of flight delay: Travel columnist Randy Diamond fell victim last week to this unintended consequence, which he calls "the granola bar wait."

What Went Wrong at WaMu: Weak Regulators Ignored Risks

Agency infighting and regulators' disregard of shoddy lending practices allowed Washington Mutual Bank, which failed in 2008, to continue to make high-risk mortgage loans and sell them as securities into the market, a Senate investigative subcommittee reported Friday.

Legal Briefing: The Strong Push to Regulate Derivatives

One of the biggest battles in financial reform is whether derivative trades will move out of the shadows into a public exchange. Derivatives played a major role in the financial meltdown, but because private trades are highly profitable, big banks and their GOP allies are fighting hard against reformers' push for new regulations.

Banks Find Clever Ways Around New Credit Card Rules

Consumers should have seen it coming a mile away. In May, the federal government signed into law the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which included lots of new rules designed to protect consumers from predatory practices by banks and credit card companies, such as hidden fees and sky-high interest rates. The new rules, which go into full effect on February 22, threaten to take a big bite out of the $15 billion in penalties and fees that the industry collects each year. So what have banks and card issuers done? They've come up with new fees.