FDIC’s Complex-Firms Chief Exits as Banks Write New Wills

Jim Wigand, who oversees the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Dodd-Frank Act powers to dismantle the most complex U.S. banks in a crisis, is stepping down next month.

Wigand, the FDIC’s chief of oversight for complex financial firms, departs July 28, according to the agency. He’ll be succeeded by Arthur J. Murton, director of the agency’s Division of Insurance and Research.

The change will come about two months before the biggest banks must submit a second round of living wills mandated by the 2010 financial-regulation overhaul. The FDIC and Federal Reserve are authorized to insist the wills be credible plans for bankruptcies without government bailouts or disruptions to the financial system. The regulators can force restructurings and divestitures on firms submitting plans deemed insufficient.

“We received these first set of plans in 2012 and that was what I characterize as a learning experience for both the firms as well as the FDIC and the Fed,” Wigand, 56, said in a Senate hearing last month. The agency issued guidance to the banks in April demanding more details of how they could avoid obstacles to being resolved in bankruptcy court. Wigand said firms that don’t answer sufficiently face remediation from the FDIC.

The next living-will deadline is Oct. 1 for the largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. A next tier of smaller banks must file their initial round of plans by July 1, followed by a third tier of banks at the end of the year. Non-bank financial firms that are designated systemically important by the Financial Stability Oversight Council will also be required to file the plans.

Advising Gruenberg

Wigand worked for 30 years at the FDIC and at the Resolution Trust Corp., which liquidated thrifts in the 1980s and ’90s.

“Our agency and country have benefited greatly as a result of his outstanding work,” FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, said in a statement issued by the agency. Wigand will continue working as a senior adviser to Gruenberg until Sept. 30, according to agency’s statement, which included no information about his plans.

Murton will be succeeded by Diane Ellis, one of his a deputy directors, according to the statement.

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