UK — FCA to Warn Investors about Fraud Targets: Until now, the UK’s financial regulator publicly revealed the identities of alleged securities violators only after it had made the decision to impose a penalty or initiate a proceeding. The newly-established Financial Conduct Authority, however, has just announced that it intends to publicly disclose warnings sent to suspected wrongdoers – firms and individuals — that they can expect enforcement actions against them. The purpose of the new initiative is to put investors on notice of putative fraud so as to prevent any further harm. Targets apparently would be given the opportunity before their warnings are published to persuade the FCA that publication would be unfair. According to one UK legal observer, “the FCA … knows that the crowd only gathers when there is a body in the stocks.”
Holland — Rabobank Bans Executive Bonuses: After the EU adopted 1x bonus caps for its senior bankers earlier this year, Holland’s Rabobank took the further step of capping its executive bonuses at 30% of salary. Last week, the bank decided to ban executive bonuses altogether. Wout Dekker, chairman of the bank, called bonuses “no longer compatible with the economic role Rabobank plays in Dutch society.” While Rabobank also recently announced job cuts and branch closures, it is still one of Holland’s largest financial institutions and the only big Dutch bank that came through the financial crisis unscathed.
China — Shanghai Opens Hedge Fund Park: Shanghai just dedicated a separate area of the city for hedge funds and their financial service providers which is intended to turn Shanghai into a global financial center. The park was created to satisfy the huge demand among China’s affluent for sophisticated investment options. One of the park’s private sponsors is even planning to build a hedge fund laboratory where emerging managers can simulate investment strategies and develop new products. The fund park complements China’s recent pilot program permitting six prominent Western hedge funds – Man Group (UK), Winton (UK), Oaktree (US), Och-Ziff (US), Citadel (US) and Canyon Partners (US) — to raise up to $50 million each from Chinese institutions.
Australia — Way Out Ahead in Equity Crowdfunding: Forget about Crowd Cube and Seedrs in the UK and FundersClub and AngelList in the US. Australia has been crowdfunding since 2005 through the marketing and distribution platform of the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board which has helped Australian businesses raise a total of over $133 million. On the ASSOB platform, Australian companies can crowdfund up to $5 million each and then benefit from the ASSOB’s mentoring services. The ASSOB also provides liquidity to investors through a secondary market for crowdfunded securities.