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Roundtable Proposes New National Charters

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A group that represents financial services giants wants the United States to give companies a chance to choose from a menu of three new optional charters.

The Financial Services Roundtable, Washington, has released a proposal for increasing U.S. financial competitiveness that calls for Congress to offer financial services companies an optional national insurance charter, an optional national securities charter, and an optional universal financial services charter.

The proposal, the work of a committee led by Richard Kovacevich, chairman of Wells Fargo & Company, San Francisco, and James Dimon, chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Company, New York, also proposes six principles for principles-based regulation and a list of eight changes the committee would like to see implemented.

The proposed “guiding principles” are:

1. Fair treatment for consumers.

2. Competitive and innovative financial markets.

3. Proportionate, risk-based regulation.

4. Prudential supervision and enforcement.

5. Options for serving consumers.

6. Management responsibilities

Roundtable members are seeking specific changes in prudential supervision; litigation; consumer credit and opportunities for long-term financial security; anti-money laundering; risk-based capital regulation; insurance regulation; Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and U.S. and international accounting standards.