Letter From The President Of The New York City Bar Association

2010-12-06 01:00

To The Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

The New York City Bar Association had a busy October in the area of white collar practice and regulation. On October 21, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, addressed hundreds in the City Bar's Meeting Hall on "The Future of White Collar Enforcement: A Prosecutor's View." On October 27th and 28th, we hosted a two-day symposium, "Dodd-Frank and Other International Developments Affecting the Global Financial System after the Crisis," to address the global financial crisis that has sparked significant changes in the regulation of the financial system.

Mr. Bharara began by discussing the increase in white collar crime, which he called a global problem on par with international narcotics and arms trafficking. "Our focus on white collar crime in general, and financial fraud in particular, flows from a commitment that long precedes me," said Mr. Bharara. "It is a commitment to certain principles and goals: that our markets should be fair, that our playing fields should be level, and that our citizens' accounts should be secure."

Mr. Bharara said insider trading should be "offensive to everyone who believes in, and relies upon, the market. And it is an affront not only to the fairness of the market but also to the rule of law.It only further feeds the pervasive crisis of confidence in our financial system, what some see as a lack of faith in the economic order and a lack of trust that the same rules apply to everyone."

The importance of financial regulation and avoiding financial fraud was discussed in a different context the following week at our Dodd-Frank symposium. Consisting of 11 panels over two days, the symposium covered developments in key areas, including: capital, resolution, regulation, proprietary trading, derivatives, and compensation. The panels were targeted to inside and outside legal counsel, consultants, financial professionals, and members of the regulatory and academic communities.

Among the panelists were experienced practitioners, U.S. and foreign regulators, and various leaders of financial institutions.The panels were divided into several topics, such as: "Supervision and Examination in the Post-Crisis World," "The Volcker Rule," "European Perspectives on the Post-Crisis Banking Market," and several other issues that the new legislation has raised.

The Dodd-Frank Act is arguably the most significant change to financial regulation in the United States since the Great Depression, as it affects all federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every aspect of the nation's financial services industry.While the symposium held at the City Bar addressed the mechanics of the legislation, it also focused on its global impact due to the role that multinational institutions play in the market. As one of the panelists, Deborah P. Bailey, director, Bank Regulatory, Deloitte & Touche LLP, stated, "It is not just important to look at individual institutions, but to look at things more broadly and to see how financial institutions are interconnected."

I am delighted that the City Bar continues to present timely programs on the most cutting-edge legal issues, to inform our members, the legal profession and the wider public.


Samuel W. Seymour