In response to the escalating crisis, on October 3, 2008, Congress provided the U.S. Department of the Treasury with the authority to spend $700 billion to stabilize the U.S. economy, preserve home ownership, and promote economic growth. Congress created the Office of Financial Stabilization (OFS) within Treasury to implement a Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). At the same time, Congress created the Congressional Oversight Panel to “review the current state of financial markets and the regulatory system.” The Panel is empowered to hold hearings, review official data, and write reports on actions taken by Treasury and financial institutions and their effect on the economy. Through regular reports, the Panel must oversee Treasury’s actions, assess the impact of spending to stabilize the economy, evaluate market transparency, ensure effective foreclosure mitigation efforts, and guarantee that Treasury’s actions are in the best interests of the American people. In addition, Congress has instructed the Panel to produce a special report on regulatory reform that will analyze “the current state of the regulatory system and its effectiveness at overseeing the participants in the financial system and protecting consumers.”
This report is short on particulars, but does give me a sense that private investment funds are likely to be subject to more regulatory oversight in the near future.
Number three on the list of critical problems and recommendations for improvement is to modernize the supervision of the “shadow” financial system. The report lumps private equity funds in the same basket with OTC derivatives, off-balance sheet SIVs and hedge funds.