August 16, 2017

Trump to order review that could relax Dodd-Frank bank rules

ysUS President Donald Trump is expected to take his first steps to scale back financial services regulations on Friday.
He is due to sign an executive order to review the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which some people on Wall Street say are overly-restrictive.
The law was brought in after the 2008-09 financial crisis with the aim of avoiding another financial meltdown.
“Dodd-Frank is a disaster,” Mr Trump said earlier this week.
He added: “We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank.”
Mr Trump made it a campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank act, which also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This US government agency seeks to make sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat US consumers fairly.
Dodd-Frank, named after the Congressmen who campaigned for the legislation, was introduced to rein in banks’ risky practices by banks and other financial companies.
Good move, bad move
But Trump administration officials have said Dodd-Frank did not achieve what it set out to do, and argue that is an example of government being overly-controlling.
News that a review was imminent sent banking shares higher on Wall Street and on the main stock markets in Europe. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase rose 4% and 2.5% respectively.
“The banks are going to be able to price products more efficiently and more effectively to consumers,” Gary Cohn, an adviser to Mr Trump and a former Goldman Sachs executive, told the Wall Street Journal.
Market analyst Jasper Lawler at the London Capital Group said that “unwinding some of Dodd-Frank is a good thing because it will enable smaller community banks to compete, offering competition to consumers.”
But he said that scrapping the whole of Dodd-Frank “puts the entire system at risk of a repeat of 2008”.
And Sweden’s minister for financial stability Per Bolund told the country’s TT news agency that a repeal would be “dangerous, harmful and extremely unfortunate”.
The executive order will direct the Treasury secretary to consult members of different regulatory agencies and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and report back on potential changes.
Mr Trump will also sign a presidential memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay bringing in an Obama-era rule requiring financial professionals to put their clients’ interests first when giving advice on retirement investments.
The rule, which was set to take effect in April, will be delayed for 90 days while it is reviewed.
The so-called “fiduciary rule” was aimed at blocking financial advisers from steering clients toward investments with higher commissions and fees that can eat into retirement savings.
Critics say the rule limits retirees’ investment choices by forcing asset managers to steer them to low risk options.
President Trump wants to “do a big number”, as he put it, on the Dodd-Frank act, a law that changed financial regulation after the 2008 crisis.
On Thursday evening, a senior White House official told me and other reporters about their plans to examine the act and the regulatory system.
Speaking in the West Wing, the official described Dodd-Frank as “massive government over-reach”, and said that an overhaul of the system would empower consumers, giving them a chance to make “independent” financial decisions.
People in the financial industry have welcomed the chance to dismantle Dodd-Frank, and to make other regulatory changes.
So, have bankers been pushing the Trump camp for change? We didn’t exactly get a straight answer.
The White House official did tell us, however, that he’s confident that they’re giving consumers “what they want.”
Also on Friday, Mr Trump is meeting with his business advisory group of senior US executives.
It will be the first meeting of the Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of executives that includes Jamie Dimon, of banking giant JPMorgan Chase, and Mary Barra chief executive of carmaker General Motors.
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of ride-sharing service Uber, stepped down from the economic advisory group after strong criticism from staff and the public.

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