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President Barack Obama on Wednesday, July 21, signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Actinto law. It is a landmark bill that will eventually change the way the financial services industry serves the country.
At a ceremony in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, the President spoke about the route the bill took to become law: "For the last year, Chairmen Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have worked day and night to bring about reform. I'm profoundly grateful to them. I also want to express my appreciation to Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their leadership. Passing this bill was no easy task. To get there, we had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups, and a partisan minority determined to block change. The Members here today, both on stage and in the audience, have done a great service in devoting so much time and expertise to this effort. I also want to thank the three Republican Senators who put partisanship aside, judged this bill on the merits, and voted for reform."
Much of what the bill outlines must be studied and implemented by regulators and agencies of the government, including new ones formed by the bill's passage, such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council and Bureau of Consumer Protection. The Securities and Exchange Commission alone will have 124 new actions to implement, including studies, rulemakings and reports, according to SIFMA, while the Federal Reserve Board will have 75 actions; Commodity Futures Trading Association, 55; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 49.
Obama added this before he signed the bill: "The financial industry is central to our nation's ability to grow, prosper, compete, and innovate. There are a lot of banks that understand and fulfill this vital role, and a lot of bankers who want to do right by their customers."
The President added: "And with this law, ordinary investors--like seniors and folks saving for retirement--will be able to receive more information about the costs and risks of mutual funds and other investment products, so that they can better make financial decisions that work for them.
"[B]ecause of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period."
There has been much disagreement over what should be contained in the bill. "Ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We rise or fall together as one nation. So these reforms will help lift our economy and lead all of us to a stronger, more prosperous future, and I am honored to sign them into law," Obama said.
Comments? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kate McBride is editor in chief of Wealth Manager and a member of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.