Can a computer “think”? Twenty years ago, the world hailed advances made by IBM computer engineers when on February 10, 1996, “Deep Blue,” utilizing predictive evaluation functions capable of evaluating 100 million positions per second, beat the world’s reigning chess champion, Garry Kasparov. From there, predictive coding technology took off in applications such as the filtering of documents as to relevancy in litigation as well as in contract management services. The technology still required that the computer be programmed with data sets as its “brains,” and it was not really deemed capable of learning per se. But the question remained: Can a computer “think”? Experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are now telling us that the answer is “yes.”
In 1986, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) created the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in response to the need for a reliable, unified benchmark rate for calculating loans between British banks. It soon developed into one of the primary global interest rate benchmarks for debt instruments ranging from government bonds to home mortgages, credit cards, student loans and many others. Based on a basket of five currencies—the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen—LIBOR was relied upon by U.S. financial institutions for rating trillions of dollars’ worth of debt. But a little more than two years after the catastrophic LIBOR rate-fixing scandal broke, U.S. regulators are poised to leave LIBOR in favor of an alternative benchmark. Figuring out how to set the interest rate for $160 trillion in U.S. financial products and debt is no simple task.
On the 10th of October 1789, Dr. Guillotin (original spelling without the e) proposed to the French Assembly that the penal code be revised to provide that capital punishment executions be carried out not by torture or by hanging from the gallows but by simple decapitation. Thus, the guillotine became the standard instrument for death penalty cases, not only in France, but throughout Europe. Fast forward 227 years later, and European officials are once again mulling over use of the guillotine throughout Europe—but this time as a tool to stop a run on failed banks.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a Treasury Department bureau that collects and analyzes data about financial transactions in an effort to combat both domestic and international money laundering. It is one of the primary enforcement agencies of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which is America’s principal anti-money laundering (AML) statute. Although FinCEN’s BSA authority was initially employed for tracking underworld money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes conducted via banks and similar money services businesses, it has gradually been expanded in scope and definition to regulate additional nonconventional investment sources. FinCEN is now poised to go after investment crowdfunding portals for SAR compliance.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the nongovernmental watchdog group authorized by Congress to maintain financial markets’ integrity and protection of investors via the enforcement of rules for the fair and honest operation of the securities industry in the United States. Recently, FINRA addressed the issue of powers of attorney given to financial advisors or to an investor’s family member and offered its tips and warnings regarding how investors can protect themselves while utilizing such powers of attorney.
On April 14, 2016, the European Union passed its first comprehensive overhaul of personal and business data protection laws since the dawn of widespread Internet usage in 1995. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), citizens will be able to take back control over their personal data, and companies doing business in the EU will benefit from a simplified and unified data regulatory environment in which to operate.
One of the most exhilarating, yet nerve-wracking, life experiences is leaving the herd to open your own business. After graduating law school, most new lawyers venture into the working world with an established firm or government entity. After gaining a substantial amount of hands-on experience and knowledge, motivated attorneys leave their managers to become their own bosses. This article outlines three of the top considerations you should evaluate when deciding whether or not to make the move.