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"You have to challenge what’s worked." - See who said it and why it matters below.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
It's normal for regulators to take on the companies it oversees. What's rarer is the opposite: entities taking their regulators to court — but that might be changing.
Why it matters: The legal showdowns between companies and regulators show just how far big business is willing to go to fight regulations that could dent profits.
What’s happening: In an unprecedented move, the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and Cboe sued the Securities Exchange Commission over the regulatory agency’s “transaction fee pilot" — which would undermine how much money the three largest U.S. stock exchange operators could pay and charge to draw trading onto their platforms.
And last month, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the largest proxy adviser whose recommendations can sway how shareholders vote on crucial corporate governance issues, said it would also take the SEC to court.
The SEC isn’t the only target: Last week, PayPal sued the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the regulatory agency’s “Prepaid rule,” which requires prepaid card issuers to disclose fees upfront.
Between the lines: The actions are a sign that “suing a company’s regulator—an uncommon and aggressive tactic—is becoming less taboo,” as the WSJ’s Cezary Podkul notes.
The bottom line: Typically companies push back against regulators behind closed doors. The fights are more commonly starting to play out in public.
The SEC is facing more suits this year than last, but way fewer than it did in prior years, according to data compiled for Axios by Docket Alarm.
Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/WPA Pool via Getty Images
With just a month left before he steps down as head of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney is putting the finishing touches on his legacy at the British central bank.
Driving the news: The BoE laid out how it planned to test the resilience of the U.K.'s largest banks and insurers in increasingly threatening environmental scenarios. It’s a notable step for Carney who's "played a key role in highlighting financial risks from global warming," as Bloomberg notes.
Why it matters: Central banks across the globe are paying more attention to the risks of climate change to financial institutions and the economy.
Yes, but: Banks can't pass or fail the test — and there are no guaranteed consequences if the central bank deems institutions' plans inadequate.
The big picture: The European Central Bank said last month it's considering a climate change component to its existing stress tests. Meantime, the central bank's new leader Christine Lagarde has vowed that the ECB will "step up" action on climate change.
The bottom line: Per Reuters, the BoE "will publish detailed scenarios for the test next April, which will be closely watched by central banks in other countries."
P.S. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Sajid Javid are reportedly close to choosing Carney's successor. (Bloomberg)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The U.S. economy is besting expectations for job growth, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in several decades — but the other side of the story is that millions of jobs out there just aren't good enough, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.
Why it matters: Almost half of all American workers are stuck in low-wage jobs that often don't pay enough to support their lives, lack benefits and sit squarely inside the automation bull's-eye.
By the numbers: There are 53 million U.S. workers — around 44% of the total workforce — who work in jobs with a median hourly wage of $10.22 and median yearly earnings of $18,000, according to a November Brookings study that examines low-wage work.
The big picture: For decades, the job market has seen steady polarization, Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, says. There's been growth in high-wage jobs in tech and finance in big cities, and there's been a similar surge in jobs at the lower end — but the middle has hollowed out, primarily due to the collapse of manufacturing.
Image: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Contributor
Axios' Managing Business Editor Jennifer A. Kingson writes: It was 100 years ago that Ernest Shackleton — polar explorer and CEO extraordinaire — published "South," the gripping memoir of his against-all-odds trudge to safety with his crew after his three-masted barquentine, the "Endurance," was crushed in ice in Antarctica's relentless Weddell Sea.
Why it matters: There's a reason that Shackleton, as a leader and manager, is widely studied at management programs like Harvard Business School, where various studies have been written about him.
Between the lines: Behind the PowerPoint presentations about "corporate leadership lessons" for CEOs and others, the real tale is the human element, as fused with managerial punctilio.