Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

A significant Trump nominee for the Fed

Posted by hkarner - 16. Juli 2017

Date: 13-07-2017
Source: The Economist
Subject: Wall Street: A new approach to financial regulation

DONALD TRUMP promised to unshackle America’s financial firms from mounds of stultifying regulation and the grip of bureaucrats with little practical experience of capitalism. One way to put that pledge into practice is to appoint officials with business backgrounds and deregulatory agendas. This element of the Trump strategy was on show this week, with a presidential nomination for a critical job at the Federal Reserve and the first public address by the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), another financial regulator.

Buried in the voluminous pages of the Dodd-Frank act, an Obama-era law passed in response to the financial crisis, was the creation of a new supervisory job at the Fed. Thus far, this powerful post has been informally delegated to an existing Fed board member, first Daniel Tarullo and, since his departure, Jerome Powell. That is set to change. Randal Quarles was formally nominated for the job—technically a vice-chairmanship with a brief covering financial supervision—on July 11th.

Mr Quarles has held a number of jobs—as a lawyer for financial institutions at Davis Polk, a leading law firm; as a senior official in the Treasury; working on bank investments at Carlyle, a private-equity firm; and most recently, as head of Cynosure, a firm investing on behalf of wealthy families. If approved by the Senate, Mr Quarles will have his new office in a building named after Marriner Eccles, chairman of the Fed from 1934 to 1948, and a relative of his wife, Hope.

Mr Quarles is described by former associates as being in favour of policies administered through transparent and direct rules. If so, this would mark a shift from the Obama administration’s approach to finance. It oversaw a profusion of complex, and sometimes conflicting, directives; supervisors kept banks on a tight leash through stress tests that lacked clear criteria. That created vast uncertainty for financial institutions. It also gave regulators great discretionary power (to say nothing of lucrative job opportunities helping financial institutions to navigate their way through the murk).
In what may be another sign of a changing approach, Jay Clayton, appointed chairman of the SEC in May, gave his first public speech on July 12th, to the Economic Club of New York. He heads a deeply troubled agency. A third of the new rules the agency is required to write by the Dodd-Frank act have yet to be completed. Three out of the five commission slots need to be filled; Mr Obama’s last two nominations failed to win approval because of deep ideological divisions in Congress. The SEC’s three missions—of investor protection; fair, orderly and efficient markets; and the facilitation of capital formation—are often seen to be at odds with one another or insufficiently understood.

Mr Clayton’s speech expanded on a theme first voiced in his confirmation hearing, that a sharp decline in publicly listed companies in America over the past two decades reflects deep problems in the structure of financial markets. In turn, this causes average Americans harm by denying them the opportunity to invest in dynamic companies.

Among the causes of the decline, he said, was the cumulative impact of disclosure requirements that had gone far beyond the core concept of what is material to an investor. Some of these requirements were aimed at providing indirect benefits to “specific shareholders or other constituencies”, he said, a passage seen by many as an attack on activists who use disclosure standards to push companies on social rather than business issues. Additional compliance mandates had piled on costs for listed companies that they could avoid by staying private.

The first change of the Clayton era is telling. On July 10th a new rule went into effect that raised the size threshold for companies that are allowed to file private registration statements to raise capital with the SEC, thereby delaying the exposure of sensitive information that might be of use to competitors. Companies, says one lawyer, consider the disclosure process akin to undressing in public, and thus a reason to stay private. The SEC’s rule change is a small one but may be indicative of a broader change in regulatory philosophy. If the market does not work for companies, it will not work for the public.

Advertisements

Kommentar verfassen

Bitte logge dich mit einer dieser Methoden ein, um deinen Kommentar zu veröffentlichen:

WordPress.com-Logo

Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Twitter-Bild

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Facebook-Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Google+ Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Google+-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s