Federal Reserve Supervision: Federal Reserve Updates Consolidated Supervision Framework for Large Financial Institutions

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - December 27, 2012

On December 17, 2012, the staff of the Federal Reserve issued a Supervision and Regulation (“SR”) letter describing the Federal Reserve’s new framework for consolidated supervision of large financial institutions. SR letters address significant policy and procedural matters related to the Federal Reserve’s supervisory responsibilities.

Under the new framework, the Federal Reserve’s primary supervisory objectives for large financial institutions will be (1) to enhance resiliency of an institution to lower the probability of its failure or its becoming unable to serve as a financial intermediary, and (2) to reduce the impact on the financial system and the broader economy of an institution’s failure or material weakness. These objectives are meant to conform to key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, such as enhanced prudential standards for large financial institutions. Although the Federal Reserve has not previously stated these objectives as its primary supervisory objectives, and the new framework formally integrates areas such as corporate governance and compensation that Federal Reserve staff has been focused on since the financial crisis, changes in specific supervisory expectations are limited. Changes include greater emphasis on recovery planning in the case of financial or operational weakness, and on orderly resolution planning, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The Federal Reserve will also engage in greater “macroprudential” supervision to detect systemic risks.

The new framework applies to the largest and most complex financial institutions subject to consolidated Federal Reserve supervision, including nonbank financial companies designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for supervision by the Federal Reserve; other domestic bank and savings and loan holding companies with consolidated assets of $50 billion or more; and other foreign banking organizations with combined assets of U.S. operations of $50 billion or more.