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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation

Wall Street Reform act begins a new regulatory era for industry

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When President Obama signed H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act bill, he created an avalanche of new work for the executive branch.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the Dodd-Frank act will require federal agencies to develop 520 rules, conduct 81 studies and issue 93 reports.

The U.S. Treasury Department will have to create a Federal Insurance Office (FIO), and the Federal Reserve Bureau will have to create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will have an Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans and an Office of Financial Literacy. The topics the financial literacy office will address will include retirement planning. Other sections of the act will revamp bank and hedge fund regulation and create a Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Frank Keating, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says the signing of the Dodd-Frank bill shifts the focus of financial reform efforts to the federal regulatory agencies.

“The nation must rely on the expertise and professionalism of the agencies to implement H.R. 4173 in a way that honors its underlying spirit of reform, but does not hamper well-functioning markets and the services we provide our policy owners through inappropriate or excessive regulation,” Keating says.

The ACLI will be working to make sure regulators and others understand that the life insurance industry “differs markedly from banking and securities, Keating says.

“While the federal government has long monitored discrete aspects of insurance, we hope the new FIO will provide policymakers with expert advice on the full spectrum of industry much as federal banking and securities regulators do for their industries,” Keating says. “We look forward to initiating a dialogue with the FIO as soon as it is up-and-running.”


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