Webb pushes financial regulatory reform

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a member of the Joint Economic Committee, called on federal regulators to implement strong reforms to prevent high-risk investing from again endangering the national economy. Sen. Webb joined 17 other senators in submitting comments to the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) yesterday to ensure that proprietary trading restrictions of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act are implemented as intended by Congress.

“After taxpayers were forced to bail out banks and other systemically significant financial companies whose proprietary trades went awry, we determined that the economy and taxpayers need strong protections against an increasingly casino-like financial system,” the senators wrote. “High-risk investing is an appropriate and legitimate activity in a free market system, but it cannot again imperil our nation’s economic well-being.”

The restrictions were added to the financial reform law to address speculative proprietary trading by bank fund managers, which creates tremendous risks for the institutions themselves and conflicts with the interests of their customers. The group of senators provided detailed guidance to regulators to help them effectively implement and enforce the statutory language. The group also provided copies of the implementation instructions to the heads of the federal agencies responsible for implementing Wall Street reform.

The FSOC is a collaborative body established as part of the financial reform legislation to monitor and address risks to financial stability. The FSOC is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and authorized to facilitate regulatory coordination, recommend stricter standards, and break up firms that pose a “grave threat” to financial stability, among other responsibilities. The FSOC is currently requesting comments regarding the implementation of the Merkley-Levin provisions to restrict proprietary trading, also known as the “Volker Rule.” Sen. Webb cosponsored the Merkley-Levin provision during the Senate floor debate on financial reform.

“Despite having just emerged as a nation from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, powerful interests will seek to weaken the Merkley-Levin Volcker Rule protections,” the senators wrote. “We in Congress resisted those efforts and provided you with a clear mandate and broad authority to act. The American people are now relying upon you to fully carry out the law.”

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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