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White House conference call adds detail to reg reform
WASHINGTON (3/30/09)—The White House and U.S. Treasury Department Friday gave more detail on its financial regulatory reform platform during a by-invitation conference call. Those invited included the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and other national financial services groups. Jeffrey Bloch, senior assistant general counsel of the Credit Union National Association, said the call focused on four components of the Obama administration’s restructuring efforts:
* Addressing systemic risk; * Protecting consumers/investors; * Eliminating gaps in the regulatory structure by reassigning resources and accountability; and * Fostering international cooperation since U.S. actions will affect global markets.
The bulk of the call, Bloch said, was dedicated to discussing systemic risk. The administration described the following six areas to be explored to address systemic risk:
* Single independent regulator for all systemic important entities. Named by Congress, the regulator would issue substantive rules and responsibilities. The regulator would focus on risk, not the legal form of the entity and payments/settlement systems would be strengthened, such as for derivatives and other activities not currently closely supervised. * Higher capital and risk management standards would be set for systemic important entities. Prompt Corrective Action requirements would be required at the holding company level. * Hedge funds over a certain size would have to register and provide info to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and uniform requirements would be imposed. Data would be collected to assess the risk of these funds to determine how systemically significant they are. * An addition of protection requirements for derivatives, such as credit default swaps. Dealers and others would be evaluated to determine their systemic importance, with a goal of increasing the amount of information reported and its transparency. There would also be more eligibility and suitability requirements with regard to derivatives. * New SEC requirements for money market mutual funds would be implemented. * Regulators would have stronger resolution authority for complex, non-bank entities.

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