75 FR 52611, Aug. 27, 2010, unless otherwise noted.
(a) Purpose and scope. In accordance with 5 CFR 2635.105, the purpose of this regulation is to supplement the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch contained in 5 CFR part 2635. The regulation applies to employees of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Employees are required to comply with 5 CFR part 2635, this part, guidance and procedures established pursuant to this part, the regulation concerning the post-employment restriction for senior examiners at 12 CFR part 1212, and any additional rules of conduct that FHFA is authorized to issue. Employees should contact the DAEO if they have questions about any provision of this regulation or other ethics-related matters.
(b) Cross-references -
(1) Regulations. FHFA employees are also subject to the regulations concerning executive branch financial disclosure contained in 5 CFR part 2634, the regulations concerning executive branch financial interests contained in 5 CFR part 2640, and the regulations concerning executive branch employee responsibilities and conduct contained in 5 CFR part 735.
(i) Statutory restriction. Section 1319D of the Act, 12 U.S.C. 4523, prohibits the Director or any former officer or employee of FHFA who, while employed by FHFA, was compensated at a rate in excess of the lowest rate for a position classified higher than GS-15 of the General Schedule under section 5107 of title 5, United States Code, from accepting compensation from an enterprise during the two-year period beginning on the date of his or her separation from employment by FHFA.
(ii) Notice to employees. The DAEO shall notify employees on an annual basis of the rate of compensation that triggers the subsequent employment restriction.
For purposes of this part, the term:
Affiliate means any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another entity.
Designated Agency Ethics Official, or DAEO, as also used in 5 CFR part 2635, and “alternate DAEO” mean the individuals so designated by the Director, FHFA. The DAEO is responsible for designating agency ethics officials and ethics designees, as such terms are used in 5 CFR part 2635. The alternate DAEO acts as the DAEO in the DAEO's absence.
Director means the Director of FHFA or his or her designee.
Employee means an officer or employee of FHFA, including a special Government employee. For purposes of this part, it also means an individual on detail from another agency to FHFA for a period of more than 30 calendar days.
Enterprise means the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
Federal Home Loan Bank or Bank means a Bank established under the Federal Home Loan Bank Act; the term “Federal Home Loan Banks” means, collectively, all the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Federal Home Loan Bank System means the Federal Home Loan Banks under the supervision of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Regulated entity means the Federal National Mortgage Association and any affiliate thereof; the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and any affiliate thereof; or any Federal Home Loan Bank; the term “regulated entities” means, collectively, the Federal National Mortgage Association and any affiliate thereof; the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and any affiliate thereof; and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Safety and Soundness Act means the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.), as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), Public Law 110-289, 122 Stat. 2654 (2008).
Security means all interests in debt or equity instruments. The term includes, without limitation, secured and unsecured bonds, debentures, notes, securitized assets and commercial paper including loans securitized by mortgages or deeds of trust and securities backed by such instruments, as well as all types of preferred and common stock. The term encompasses current and contingent ownership interests including any beneficial or legal interest derived from a trust. Such interest includes any right to acquire or dispose of any long or short position in such securities and also includes, without limit, interests convertible into such securities, as well as options, rights, warrants, puts, calls and straddles with respect thereto. The term shall not, however, be construed to include deposit accounts, such as checking, savings, or money market deposit accounts.
(a) General. The DAEO may waive any provision of this part upon finding that the waiver will not result in conduct inconsistent with 5 CFR part 2635 or otherwise prohibited by law, and that application of the provision is not necessary to ensure public confidence in the impartiality and objectivity with which the programs of FHFA are administered. Each waiver shall be in writing and supported by a statement of the facts and findings upon which it is based and may impose appropriate conditions, including but not limited to requiring the employee to execute a written disqualification statement or an agreement not to acquire additional securities.
(b) Waiver of prohibitions relating to ownership or control of securities. The DAEO may grant a waiver permitting the employee or the employee's spouse or minor children to own or control, directly or indirectly, any security prohibited under § 9001.104, if, in addition to the standards under paragraph (a) of this section:
(1) Extenuating circumstances exist, such as ownership or control of the security was acquired:
(i) Prior to employment with FHFA;
(ii) Through inheritance, gift, merger, acquisition, or other change in corporate structure, or otherwise without specific intent on the part of the employee, or employee's spouse or minor children, to acquire the security; or
(iii) By an employee's spouse or minor children as part of a compensation package in connection with employment or prior to marriage to the employee;
(2) The amount of the prohibited financial interest has a market value of less than the de minimis amount set forth in 5 CFR 2640.202(a);
(3) The employee makes a prompt and complete written disclosure of the interest; and
(4) If the employee is required to disqualify himself or herself from certain assignments, the disqualification does not unduly interfere with the full performance of the employee's duties.
(a) General prohibition. This section applies to all employees, except special Government employees. Except as permitted in paragraph (c) of this section, an employee or an employee's spouse or minor children, shall not directly or indirectly own or control securities owned, issued, guaranteed, securitized, or collateralized by a regulated entity.
(b) Restrictions arising from third-party relationships. If any of the entities listed in paragraphs (b)(1) through (6) of this section owns securities that an employee is prohibited from owning directly by paragraph (a) of this section, the employee is deemed to hold the securities indirectly. The entities are -
(1) A partnership in which the employee or employee's spouse or minor children are general partners;
(2) A partnership in which the employee or employee's spouse or minor children individually or jointly hold more than a 10 percent limited partnership interest;
(3) A closely held corporation in which the employee or employee's spouse or minor children individually or jointly hold more than a 10 percent equity interest;
(4) A trust in which the employee or employee's spouse or minor children have a legal or beneficial interest;
(5) An investment club or similar informal investment arrangement between the employee or employee's spouse or minor children and others; or
(6) Any other entity in which the employee or employee's spouse or minor children individually or jointly hold more than a 10 percent equity interest.
(c) Exceptions to prohibition for certain interests. Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, an employee or an employee's spouse or minor children may directly or indirectly own or control:
(1) A security for which a waiver has been granted pursuant to § 9001.103; and
(2) An interest in a publicly-traded or publicly-available diversified mutual fund or other collective diversified investment fund, including a widely-held pension or other retirement fund if:
(i) Neither the employee, the employee's spouse, nor the employee's minor children exercise or have the ability to exercise control over the financial interests held by the fund; and
(ii) The fund does not indicate in its prospectus the objective or practice of concentrating its investments in securities of a regulated entity or regulated entities generally, and less than 25 percent of the total holdings of the fund are comprised of securities owned, issued, guaranteed, securitized, or collateralized by one or more regulated entities.
(d) Reporting and divestiture. An employee must provide, in writing, to the DAEO any financial interest prohibited under paragraph (a) of this section acquired prior to the effective date of this part or the commencement of employment with FHFA or without specific intent, as through gift, inheritance, or marriage, within 30 calendar days from the effective date of this part, commencement of employment with FHFA, or acquisition of such interest. Such financial interest must be divested within 90 calendar days from the date reported unless a waiver is granted in accordance with § 9001.103.
(a) Prohibited outside employment. Employees, except special Government employees, shall not engage in:
(1) Employment with a person or entity, other than a State or local government, that is registered as a lobbyist under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. chapter 26) and engages in lobbying activities concerning FHFA programs; or
(2) Employment with any regulated entity or with the Office of Finance of the Federal Home Loan Bank System.
(b) Prior approval for and concurrence with other outside employment -
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, before engaging in any outside employment that is not prohibited under paragraph (a) of this section, with or without compensation, an employee, other than a special Government employee, must obtain written approval from his or her supervisor and the concurrence of the DAEO. Nonetheless, special Government employees remain subject to other statutory and regulatory provisions governing their outside activities, including 18 U.S.C. 203(c) and 205(c), as well as applicable provisions of 5 CFR part 2635.
(2) An employee, other than a special Government employee, who before the effective date of this part or commencement of employment with FHFA commenced engaging in outside employment that is not prohibited under paragraph (a) of this section must request written approval from his or her supervisor and the concurrence of the DAEO within 30 calendar days of the effective date of this part or commencement of employment with FHFA. The employee may continue engaging in the outside employment while the request is under review.
(c) Definition of outside employment. For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, outside employment means any form of non-Federal employment or business relationship involving the provision of personal services, whether or not for compensation. It includes, but is not limited to, services as an officer, director, employee, agent, advisor, attorney, consultant, contractor, general partner, trustee, teacher, or speaker. It includes writing when done under an arrangement with another person or entity for production or publication of the written product. The definition does not include positions as trustee for a family trust for which the only beneficiaries are the employee, the employee's spouse, the employee's minor or dependent children, or any combination thereof. The definition also does not include participation in the activities of a nonprofit charitable, religious, professional, social, fraternal, educational, recreational, public service or civic organization, unless:
(1) The employee will receive compensation other than reimbursement of expenses;
(2) The organization's activities are devoted substantially to matters relating to the employee's official duties as defined in 5 CFR 2635.807(a)(2)(i)(B) through (E) and the employee will serve as officer or director of the organization; or
(3) The activities will involve the provision of consultative or professional services. Consultative services means the provision of personal services by an employee, including the rendering of advice or consultation, which requires advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a course of specialized instruction and study in an institution of higher education, hospital, or similar facility. Professional services means the provision of personal services by an employee, including the rendering of advice or consultation, which involves application of the skills of a profession as defined in 5 CFR 2636.305(b)(1) or involves a fiduciary relationship as defined in 5 CFR 2636.305(b)(2).
There is a special approval requirement set out in both 18 U.S.C. 203(d) and 205(e), respectively, for certain representational activities otherwise covered by the conflict of interest restrictions on compensation and activities of employees in claims against and other matters affecting the Government. Thus, an employee who wishes to act as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent his or her parents, spouse, children, or any person for whom, or any estate for which, he or she is serving as guardian, executor, administrator, trustee, or other personal fiduciary in such matters must obtain the approval required by law of the Government official responsible for the employee's appointment in addition to the regulatory approval required in this section.
(d) Procedure for requesting approval and concurrence -
(1) The approval required by paragraph (b) of this section shall be requested by e-mail or other form of written correspondence in advance of engaging in outside employment as defined in paragraph (c) of this section.
(2) The request for approval to engage in outside employment shall set forth, at a minimum:
(i) The name of the employer or organization;
(ii) The nature of the activity or other work to be performed;
(iii) The title of the position; and
(iv) The estimated duration of the outside employment.
(3) Upon a significant change in the nature or scope of the outside employment or in the employee's official position within FHFA, the employee must, within seven calendar days of the change, submit a revised request for approval and concurrence.
(e) Standard for concurrence. The DAEO may concur with the supervisor's approval required by paragraph (b) of this section only upon his or her written determination that the outside employment is not expected to involve conduct prohibited by statute or Federal regulation, including 5 CFR part 2635 and this part.
(f) Issuance of instructions. The DAEO may issue written instructions governing the submission of requests for approval of and concurrence with outside employment under paragraph (d) of this section. The instructions may exempt categories of employment from the prior approval and concurrence requirement of paragraph (b) of this section based on a determination by the DAEO that employment within those categories of employment will generally be approved and is not likely to involve conduct prohibited by Federal law or regulation, including 5 CFR part 2635 and this part.
(a) Disqualification of employee. An employee may not participate in any particular matter in which a regulated entity is a party if the regulated entity employs as an employee or a consultant his or her spouse, child, parent, or sibling, or member of his or her household unless the DAEO has authorized the employee to participate in the matter using the standard set forth in 5 CFR 2635.502(d).
(b) Reporting certain relationships. Within 30 calendar days of the spouse, child, parent, sibling, or member of the employee's household being employed by the regulated entity, the employee shall provide in writing notice of such employment to the DAEO.
(a) Director and Deputy Directors. The Director, the Deputy Director of the Division of Enterprise Regulation, the Deputy Director of the Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, and the Deputy Director for Housing Mission and Goals are subject to additional financial interest limitations as set forth in section 1312(g) of the Safety and Soundness Act, 12 U.S.C. 4512(g).
(b) Financial interests in Bank members and other financial institutions. If an employee or the spouse or minor children of the employee directly or indirectly owns a financial interest in a member of a Bank or in a financial institution such as a mortgage bank, mortgage broker, bank, thrift, or other financial institution that originates, insures, or services mortgages that are owned, guaranteed, securitized, or collateralized by a regulated entity, the employee is cautioned not to violate the statutory prohibition against financial conflicts of interest set forth in 18 U.S.C. 208. The government-wide de minimis and other exceptions set forth in 5 CFR 2640.202 are applicable to the ownership or control of interests in such financial institutions. Employees are encouraged to seek a determination from the DAEO as to whether the financial interest in the member of the Bank or in the financial institution creates a financial conflict of interest or an appearance of a conflict of interest and whether the employee should disqualify himself or herself from participating in an official capacity in a particular matter involving the financial institution.
Employees shall not make any recommendation or suggestion, directly or indirectly, concerning the acquisition, sale, or divestiture of securities of a regulated entity.
An employee or the employee's spouse or minor children shall not purchase, directly or indirectly, any real or personal property from a regulated entity, unless it is sold at public auction or by other means which would assure that the selling price is the asset's fair market value.