Financial services regulation law refers to the laws and regulations governing the creation, operation, and insolvency of financial institutions. These institutions include banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies, investment vehicles, trading platforms, payment systems, and securities settlement systems. The laws and regulations include federal banking, securities and commodities laws, as well as analogous state laws. They are designed to promote a variety of purposes, including the safety and soundness of financial institutions, investor and consumer protection and financial stability. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is the most significant expansion of federal financial regulatory laws since the Great Depression.
Financial regulatory practices vary from firm to firm. Some law firms are limited to providing financial regulatory advice to a particular type of financial institution, such as a bank or insurance company. Others focus on bank mergers and acquisitions. Only a few have a full-scope practice consisting of financial regulatory and legislative advice; mergers and acquisitions when the target is a financial institution; capital markets transactions when the issuer is a financial institution; enforcement and other litigation when the defendant is a financial institution; and insolvency and restructuring when the insolvent party is a financial institution.
Financial regulatory and legislative advice consists of advising financial institutions on regulatory limitations and requirements related to their operations and strategy, including chartering and licensing, capital or liquidity requirements, restrictions on investments or activities, financial reporting, business conduct requirements, investor protection, consumer protection, transactions with affiliates, privacy, trading, hedging, and reporting financial crimes by customers or counterparties. It includes difficult statutory or regulatory interpretation where gaps or ambiguities in the law exist, commenting on proposed legislation or regulation, seeking clarification or regulatory changes, and advocating positions before regulatory agencies.
Mergers and acquisitions transactions consist of structuring and executing the purchase or sale of a financial institution, including obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals.
Capital markets transactions consist of structuring and executing the offer and sale of debt, equity, or hybrid securities, including compliance with any special disclosure requirements for financial institutions.
Enforcement and other litigation involve defending against an enforcement action by financial regulators, white-collar criminal defense, or otherwise defending financial institutions in litigation.
Insolvency and restructuring involves advising a financial institution, its creditors or a potential purchaser when the financial institution is in a troubled or failed condition and a regulatory agency is in charge of its reorganization or liquidation.