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As Historic Hearing Convenes, Waters Raises Concerns with Credit Suisse Waiver

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Washington, January 15, 2015 | comments

In advance of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) historic hearing on Credit Suisse’s petition to continue managing certain assets following a criminal conviction, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), who requested the hearing, commended the Department and urged it to deny the bank’s waiver.

At the rare public hearing, Credit Suisse’s affiliated qualified professional asset managers (QPAMs) stand to lose their beneficial legal status after pleading guilty to helping clients evade tax debts.

Last October Waters, the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, along with Congressman George Miller (D-CA), then-Ranking Member of the Education and Workforce Committee, and Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA), called on the DOL to think twice before approving a waiver of sanctions, and requested that the Department conduct a hearing to allow the public to further examine the bank’s application.

Waters’ comment letter sent today reiterates concerns that our nation’s largest financial institutions are ‘too-big-to-bar ‘ and encourages the Department and other agencies to prove to the American public that regulators are ready and willing to use instruments available to them to enforce federal law:

“As my colleagues and I noted in our original request for today’s hearing, we are very concerned with the recent practice of our regulators reflexively granting waivers of sanctions in the law designed to deter future wrongful conduct and protect the public from bad actors. Troublingly, this seems to be the case in instances involving our nation’s largest financial institutions, such as Credit Suisse, leaving many to wonder whether regulators are throwing away valuable enforcement tools and enshrining a policy of too-big-to-bar.”

The letter also urges the Department to deny the waiver unless it provides a more complete factual record to the public and improves the modest proposed conditions:

“In addition, I believe that at this point, the waiver should be denied given the lack of important public facts and the insufficient proposed conditions. Indeed, although the proposed waiver discusses at length Credit Suisse’s objections to a denial of the waiver, the public remains deprived of basic information like the names and number of current affiliated and related QPAMs that could lose their beneficial status. As such, the public does not even know who is in need of the waiver.”

Further, the letter goes on to note Credit Suisse’s recidivist history – a pertinent concern to the agency charged with protecting the interests, and by extension pension assets, of the American people.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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