While healthcare reform is priority No. 1 for the Obama Administration, financial services reform is still alive and kicking, as President Obama made very clear as he renewed his push for financial services reform during his speech to Wall Street last month. And all bets among industry officials in Washington are that some form of financial services reform legislation will indeed get passed this year.
In his speech at Federal Hall in New York on September 14, Obama warned that the nation “…will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess that was at the heart of this crisis.” Rather, Obama said, what’s needed now are “strong rules of the road to guard against the kind of systemic risks we have seen.” He then called on the financial industry “to join us in a constructive effort to update the rules and regulatory structure to meet the challenges of this new century.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass-achusetts), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is moving full speed ahead with plans to do just that. He plans to hold a host of hearings throughout the remainder of September and in October on various reform topics. A spokesperson for Frank’s office says after the reform hearings in September, the Financial Services Committee will “move into mark-up mode in October and hopefully have something on the House floor in early November.”
David Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association in Washington, says that since the House passed an executive compensation bill before the August recess, he expects Frank to move “other parts of regulatory reform” in late September and early October. Tittsworth also expects we’ll see “outlines of a Senate bill in the near future.” He says “financial services regulatory reform will be enacted this year, but the scope and details of such legislation are highly speculative at this point.”
Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, decided against taking over as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) after the death of Edward Kennedy.