WSJ Goes Big on Financial Regulation

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal launched a new product called WSJ Pro Financial Regulation devoted to covering all of the activity in this space. WSJ reporter Andrew Ackerman had one of the first pieces on the new service discussing how the SEC’s current complement of three Commissioners could lead to paralysis at the agency. Agency action requires a quorum of three so any one Commissioner can stop something by not showing up at a meeting. Apparently this has never happened before but you never know in the divided Washington of today.

What a statement that WSJ is devoting a special service to financial regulation. The pace of increased financial regulation in the U.S. continues unabated. When I was in London last week at the FT Regulation in Asset Management Conference, there were regulators on the panel from Germany, France, Luxembourg and Malta. They, along with a regulator from the EU, all spoke in terms of a “pause” in new regulations to let the flood of regulations over the last six years sink in and to judge the impact of those regulations.

In the U.S. I don’t see much sign of a slowdown in financial regulation. The Department of Labor is forging ahead with the DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule for retirement accounts that could have an unintended impact. The SEC still has a full plate although perhaps Andrew’s article indicates there will be some slowdown. The Financial Stability Oversight Council met in January and the readout from that meeting indicates that the Council is still studying the financial stability impacts of the asset management business. It feels like regulation is full speed ahead!

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