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Americas: New Year’s resolutions

Crabb, John.  ; London (Jan 26, 2018).

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The last month saw buoyant markets in the US, with record highs for the Dow, Nasdaq and the S&P 500. This confidence can in part be attributed to the major tax breaks introduced in the GOP's tax reform bill, a tough pill to swallow for its many staunch adversaries, but could well be reversed by the government shutdown – which remains in place at the time of writing.

More regulatory confusion

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau saga has yet to be resolved. Once again siding with the Trump administration, US District Judge Timothy Kelly turned down Leandra English's request for a temporary restraining order, which would have prevented White House budget director Mick Mulvaney from holding the position on a temporary basis. Mulvaney has requested $0 to fund for the next quarter, stating that the agency has ample reserves to continue full operation. He has also called for a review of the entire organisation's operation. Ohio-based house representative Richard Dever has been named as a possible permanent successor to Mulvaney.

Elsewhere, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's former head Keith Noreika returned to his position at Simpson Thacher, where he has reportedly taken up his old office. The move has raised a few eyebrows as the lawyer will return to representing many of the banking institutions that he oversaw for several months without obtaining any of the usual Senate vetting procedures or signing the ethics pledge.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is speeding up the process of replacing the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule with its own version that will apply to all brokers not just retirement accounts. This may be enacted as soon as the next quarter. The Senate Banking Committee too is on the brink of passing its regulatory relief bill, a bipartisan effort which will...