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FSOC to discuss SIFI designation process with finance groups

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(Bloomberg) — The U.S. panel that decides which companies pose the biggest risks to the financial system will meet with industry groups that have complained the regulatory council is too secretive.

The Nov. 12 private meeting will be between officials from the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and trade associations representing the largest Wall Street banks, mutual funds and insurers, in addition to consumer advocates.

“Staff is continuing to reach out to the financial industry, the advocacy community and others for input regarding their proposals for potential changes” to how companies are chosen for stricter oversight, Treasury spokeswoman Suzanne Elio said in an e-mail today. “This engagement has been ongoing.”

The council, led by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, has come under pressure from lawmakers concerned that it has great powers and little reason to be open with the companies it considers labeling systemically important.

Financial firms designated by the council, or FSOC, are put under Federal Reserve oversight and can be subjected to stricter capital, leverage and liquidity requirements.

Among the groups scheduled to attend are the Investment Company Institute, which represents mutual funds; the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Wall Street’s biggest trade group; the American Council of Life Insurers; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to people with knowledge of the meeting.

Officials from the agencies that make up the council, including the Treasury, Fed, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., are scheduled to attend.

Lew said Oct. 6 that the council will “begin to consider possible changes in the coming months” about its designation process.

At a June congressional hearing, House Republicans criticized Lew for the council’s lack of transparency. Lew defended the panel, saying it “shares information about its work with Congress and the public in a clear and transparent manner.”


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