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Dodd-Frank Attacked At Financial Services Industry Conference

Charles Paikert, Contributing Editor in New York City, October 24, 2012

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The Dodd-Frank financial regulations came under withering attack from the financial services industry at SIFMA’s annual meeting in New York yesterday, but also drew a resolute, though hardly vigorous, defense from government regulators and legislators.

The Dodd-Frank financial regulations came under withering attack from the financial services industry at SIFMA's annual meeting in New York yesterday, but also drew a resolute, though hardly vigorous, defense from government regulators and legislators.

SIFMA president and chief executive Tim Ryan drew first blood in his opening remarks. While stressing that the financial services trade organization does not support a “complete” repeal of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Ryan went on to say that the financial reforms were “not working effectively or efficiently” and needed “improvements” in their implementation.

Ryan criticized the voluminous (2,300 pages by his count) new law for its “political and bureaucratic restraints” and complexity, and noted that only one-third of the required rules have been finalized to date. “It’s time to step back, review what we are trying to accomplish, and find a better approach to getting it done,” Ryan said.

SIFMA supports “comprehensive, balanced reform of financial regulation,” Ryan said, citing such areas of concern as systemic risk, capital requirements, liquidity, resolution of troubled firms, transparency, compensation and protection of retail investors.

Law’s “unrealistic deadlines”

But he went on to criticize Dodd-Frank’s “unrealistic deadlines” as encouraging “flawed processes,” as well as regulators’ “tendency towards over-reach” and the “paralysis” that he claimed was the result of regulators struggling to resolve the law’s “overlaps, conflicts and flaws.”

Ryan called for the Financial Stability Oversight Council to “take charge and sort out the current unruly mess, set priorities and move forward.” According to SIFMA, the Council’s priorities should be: making sure that no financial institutions are “too big to fail,” core derivatives reforms and rules regulating advice to retail investors.

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Schapiro, who was interviewed on stage, defended her agency’s handling of its Dodd-Frank duties, noting that it had already implemented 80 per cent of the rules it was responsible for. “Our approach is to be as thoughtful and deliberate as we can,” Schapiro said. “Clearly, there’s more to do, but we’re proceeding apace and the job is getting done.”




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