jump to navigation

christmas messages December 26, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

The Queen just gets better with time. The contrast between the Queen’s inclusive and compassionate Christmas message and the Downing Street Christmas tree setup video is dramatic.

merry xmas December 24, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

With Spiffworld and Jonathan Coulton:

us gambling regulation December 21, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

Just days after the EU and US announced they had reached an agreement to compensate the EU for the US’ attitude to the regulation of gambling, the Remote Gambling Association announced that it was filing a complaint with the Commission. In other gambling-related news financial trade associations have been objecting to the Fed and Treasury’s proposed implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act. The BBA asks for more clarity. SIFMA’s comment states:

The proposed rule provides that the term “unlawful Internet gambling”means a bet or wager involving the Internet that is unlawful under federal or state law where the bet or wager is initiated, received or otherwise made. It is not clear what types of gambling transactions over the Internet, if any, might be lawful. The Agencies have determined not to further define gambling-related terms because the Act itself does not specify which gambling activities are legal or illegal. SIFMA is concerned that if the Agencies themselves are unwilling or unable to provide additional guidance to financial institutions regarding what constitutes unlawful Internet gambling, financial institutions run the risk of both processing unlawful Internet gambling payment transactions that should not be processed and preventing transactions that are lawful. Without additional guidance, financial institutions may, out of an abundance of caution, implement procedures that identify and block all gambling-related transactions, including lawful transactions. Although the Act would permit such an approach since it contains a safe harbor for blocking transactions, we do not believe that was the intent of the Act. Such an approach would also take resources and focus away from other compliance efforts. Accordingly, SIFMA urges the Agencies, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and State Attorneys General, to provide additional specificity and guidance to financial institutions regarding the legal status of certain Internet gambling transactions.

guild christmas December 20, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

media literacy in the eu December 20, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

Eiuropeans don’t only need financial education, they also need to improve their media literacy, according to the Commission. There is an overlap with financial education, as one of the areas the Commission identifies as one where work is needed is “media literacy for commercial communication, covering issues related to advertising”. Although the idea of media literacy involves being creative as well as just absorbing what others produce it includes:

being aware of copyright issues which are essential for a “culture of legality”, especially for the younger generation in its double capacity of consumers and producers of content.

clear and conspicuous disclosure December 19, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

The Fed’s proposed changes to Regulation Z, published yesterday, in the sort of coincidence of transatlantic regulatory focus that is more and more common these days (see the EU Commission’s documents on financial education and mortgage finance also published yesterday) includes provisions to encourage clear and conspicuous disclosure of mortgage terms. In 2003 the Fed proposed to require clear and conspicuous disclosures across the spectrum, including under regulation Z, but withdrew the proposal the following year.
It is worth noting here that the UK’s Financial Services Agency has been promoting the general idea of treating customers fairly across a range of financial services for some time.

eu mortgage credit market December 18, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

Meanwhile, the mortgage credit white paper, also published today says this:

Taking out a mortgage credit is an important decision for any consumer. The Commission believes that there can be no efficient market without confident and empowered consumers, who are able to seek out and choose the best mortgage product for their needs, regardless of the location of the mortgage lender. In order to make an appropriate choice, consumers require clear, correct, complete and comparable information on different mortgage products.
The Commission considers it essential that mortgage lenders lend responsibly, in particular by thoroughly assessing the borrowers’ ability to pay instalments in the context of the transaction envisaged. They can do such an assessment in a variety of ways, for example by consulting a database. Irresponsible lending and mis-selling of mortgage loans by mortgage lenders or unscrupulous credit intermediaries can, as illustrated by the current sub-prime turmoil, have a negative impact on the economy at large.
Good advice, including legal advice, is an important element in enhancing consumer confidence. It is distinct from information, which is merely a description of the product. The Commission wishes to promote high-level mortgage advice standards, whilst recognising that not all consumers need the same level of advice.

eu financial education December 18, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

From the EU Commission’s Communication on Financial Education, published today:

The current difficulties in the US sub-prime mortgage market, where many consumers have taken on mortgages beyond their means owing, in part, to a lack of understanding of product features, serve as a reminder of the magnitude of the problem. Member States should play a central role but the EU can assist them.

Education can solve some, but not all, problems of this sort. Borrowers who are determined to lie about their assets and income to obtain mortgage loans won’t necessarily be deterred from such behaviour by more financial education.

gambling services December 17, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

According to the FT, today the:

European Union accepted a US offer to open some other services markets as compensation for shutting foreign companies out of America’s lucrative gambling industry.

The USTR announcement is short, and not very informative:

“We are pleased to confirm that the United States has reached agreement in the GATS Article XXI process with Canada, the EU and Japan. The agreement involves commitments to maintain our liberalized markets for warehousing services, technical testing services, research and development services and postal services relating to outbound international letters. These commitments meet our WTO obligation under GATS Article XXI to make a compensatory adjustment in our WTO services commitments. We now enter a 45-day period in which the remaining claimants have a right to request arbitration. We will continue to discuss this matter with the other claimants to explain how our proposal is consistent with our WTO obligations.”

commencement december 2007 December 16, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , comments closed

UM Law had its December 2007 commencement ceremony today to celebrate the achievements of our graduates. The speaker was Frank Angones, an alumnus of the school and the current President of the Florida Bar.