The Securities and Exchange Commission and federal banking regulators have extended the comment period on the Volcker Rule proposed regulations from January 13, 2012 to February 13, 2012. In Release No. 34-66057, the regulators noted that the extension of the comment period is appropriate “due to the complexity of the issues involved and to facilitate coordination of the rulemaking among the responsible agencies as provided in section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act.” The proposed rule was released in October. The Volcker Rule is scheduled to go into effect July 21, 2012.
The extension’s Release cites comment letters from the Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (November 17, 2011); American Bankers Association et al. (November 30, 2011); and Representative Neugebauer (R-TX) (December 20, 2011). The ABA letter points out the 1400 questions asked in the proposed regulations.
The Dodd-Frank Act put the Volcker Rule in place to restrict the ability of bank and non-bank financial companies to engage in proprietary trading and to limit their ability to have interests in, or relationships with, a hedge fund or private equity fund. The concept is simple, but difficult in execution. All banks and financial institutions engage in some form of proprietary trading to hedge the risks in their loan portfolios. Add in the extensive use of securitizations. Sprinkle in the decision by the remaining Wall Street firms to become bank holding companies after the 2008 crisis to get part of the bailout. Whip it all up with the difficulties in defining a non-bank financial company.
Feel free to add handfuls of industry lobbying to the mix, depending on your level of cynicism. For example, Representative Schweikert is asking the regulators to exclude venture capital investing under Section (d)(1)(J)
- SEC Release No. 34-66057 (.pdf) – Extending Comment Period on Prohibitions and Restrictions on Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in, and Relationships With, Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds
- Agencies Extend Comment Period on Volcker Rule Proposal – SEC Press release
- Volcker Rule – SEC Release 34-65545
- Shepard Fairey parody Image via Infite Jeff