So far so good.
That’s the word from the Council of Institutional Investors, a non-profit association of pension funds, retirement funds, endowments and foundations, regarding the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed by Congress and signed into law a year ago this week.
Calling the Dodd-Frank Act “a clear win for investors,” CII Executive Director Ann Yerger said the Act “represents a significant step toward closing the gaps in regulation and corporate governance that fueled the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”
"The law included key corporate governance improvements that give shareowners important tools to hold the boards of companies they invest in accountable for their actions," Yerger added.
But there are still threats to the Act, said Amy Borrus, deputy director at CII. Borrus said, “There are tremendous efforts under way behind the scene to gut Dodd-Frank through regulations” which the various federal regulatory agencies are still “thrashing out.”
"It’s appalling the short memories of people in the financial services industry," she said.
The financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing deep and long recession, she said, represented “a colossal failure by the regulatory system and by corporate governance,” and a strong and successfully implemented Dodd-Frank Act is needed to correct those problems so it doesn’t happen again.
The Dodd-Frank Act was a framework,” explained Borrus. “The regulatory agencies have to flesh it out through rule-making.
Borrus said pressures on the regulation-making process are not the only threat to the Act.
“What is equally upsetting,” she said, “is efforts by people in Congress to cut the SEC’s budget, even though the SEC’s responsibilities have been vastly expanded under Dodd-Frank.” That effort, too, she said, is the result of industry lobbying.
Republicans in control of the House Appropriations Committee voted to slash the SEC’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, in the Senate, a bloc of 40 Republican senators has vowed to block approval of any nominee to head the Dodd-Frank Act-created Consumer Financial Protection Board unless the President moves to reduce the new board’s authority.
“We need a strong cop on the beat,” said Borrus, adding that she remains “optimistic” that despite the pressures on Congress and regulators, the law will eventually be “implemented as intended.”
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