Welcome to the 2016 Year-End Report from BakerHostetler's Financial Services Industry Team. We are pleased to share our analysis of some of the key legal developments in the financial services industry in the past year and our expectations for 2017. Please contact any of the team members listed at the end of this report if you have questions or would like additional information on these or other issues as they unfold in the coming months.
The significant developments from the past year we focus on in this Report include:
- Cybersecurity, which cemented its position as the predominant concern for industry and for regulators.
- FinTech innovation and investment, which continued at a blistering pace as regulators and lawmakers accelerated efforts to avoid being left too far behind.
- The promise of distributed ledger technologies and blockchain technology projects, which have captured the imagination of many in industry and government and present unique legal and regulatory issues.
- The fate of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the face of litigation and in the wake of the elections.
- The CFPB's ongoing efforts to promulgate new regulations, issue regulatory guidance, establish precedents in enforcement actions, order restitution and collect fines.
- The end of the prepaid card industry's long wait for the CFPB's final, controversial regulation, but the uncertain future of the rule in the face of potential congressional repeal or amendment and other challenges that are emerging for the industry.
- Beneficial ownership, unquestionably the anti-money laundering (AML) topic of the year, with new customer due diligence regulations finalized, the release of the Panama Papers and the largest asset seizure under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act to date.
- State agency regulatory initiatives and enforcement actions in nonbank lending and state money transmitter licensing.
- Companies in the energy sector continuing to dominate in corporate bankruptcy filing.
The Report also offers insight regarding trends and emerging issues, with a watchful eye on the activities of the new administration and Congress. Few in the industry anticipated the potential scope of change we have already seen in many areas of financial services law in 2017. Even for those practicing in the highly dynamic field of FinTech, it was surprising that major legislative and regulatory initiatives over the past 20, 30 or even 40 years could be upended in a matter of weeks or months.
We hope that you use our analysis and first predictions on what may be ahead for 2017 to navigate what is likely to be an unprecedented year of change.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.