Dodd-Frank Debated

In a recent news article, “Old Fears Resurface as Lawmakers Confront Basel III, Dodd-Frank Changes,” Donna Borak reported that U.S. lawmakers at a House Financial Services Committee recently addressed whether requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act, combined with tougher international capital and liquidity rules are driving financial institutions overseas.

The article offered dueling perspectives. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., told top regulatory officials, “I think failing to examine the aggregate cost of compliance with Dodd-Frank could lead to job losses and, in the worst case, a downgrade of the United States as a financial center

Conversely, Lael Brainard, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs stated, “There are some who would argue that the United States is moving too fast on financial reform, that we should slow it down, wait to see what other countries implement. I don’t agree. By moving first and leading from a position of strength, we are elevating the world’s standards to ours.”

Borak also quotes Brainard as stressing that in passing Dodd-Frank, that “policymakers were not choosing between stability and growth, as critics charge” The “real point,” she says, “is that we will have much healthier growth if, in fact, we put in place a safe and sound financial system.”

I couldn’t agree more, but am sure that the Dodd-Frank debate will continue – especially later this month when the SEC presents to Congress its cost benefit analysis of requiring that broker-dealers be subject to the same fiduciary standard of care as investment advisors. That’s something all investors deserve.

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