Dodd-Frank Anniversary: Law Costs Agencies Millions, GAO Says

The SEC plans 14 new hires this year and another 352 next year to implement law

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As the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act officially takes place on Thursday, the Government Accountability Office has released a list of 11 federal agencies’ reported funding and staff resources associated with implementing the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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Nicole Clowers, director of financial markets and community investment at GAO, detailed the GAO’s findings in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on July 14. Clowers said GAO found that the amount of new funding the agencies reported as associated with implementing Dodd-Frank varied “significantly” across the 11 agencies, with, for instance, new funding resources related to Dodd-Frank responsibilities during the years 2011-2012 ranging from a low of zero for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to a high of around $329 million for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The GAO gathered data from the following agencies: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the CFPB, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve), FTC, Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Office of Financial Research (OFR), and the Treasury Department (Treasury).

Funding to implement the Dodd-Frank Act accounted for at least 25% of nine of the 11 agencies’ total budget increases in the most recent year for which data were available, the GAO found. Excluding the three agencies that the Dodd-Frank Act created--CFPB, FSOC and OFR--the CFTC devoted the highest share of total agency resources (25%) to implementing the Dodd-Frank provisions.

The agencies reported to the GAO that most of the costs related to implementing the provisions will be recurring, and that the agencies are relying on a variety of sources to pay the implementation costs for the new provisions, including assessments and revenues, appropriations, offsetting collections, and transfers from other agencies.

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Six of the 11 agencies reported to the GAO that their funding would be fully or partly met by assessments imposed on regulated institutions or revenues from their operations. Three others reported that they would have to rely at least partly on appropriations. The SEC said that it would use offsets (e.g., fees collected), and CFPB would use transfers from the Federal Reserve to fully fund its activities.

The GAO said it found that “nearly all the agencies” plan to have some staff work specifically on responsibilities related to the Dodd-Frank Act. For instance, the CFPB plans to hire the most full-time equivalents, 1,125 new hires, as the agency is still being set up, while the FTC reported that it would implement Dodd-Frank using existing resources. 

The SEC plans 14 new hires this year and another 352 next year to implement Dodd-Frank, while the CFTC anticipates 121 news hires this year and another 238 in 2012.

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