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August 2, 2012

Bloomberg: No Big Boy Pants for Banks That Whine Over Rules


“A stretch or not, it is what the SEC is stuck with for the moment, and it’s become “the cornerstone of the attack of regulatory reform in the courts,” according to an 82-page report released three days ago by the investor advocacy group Better Markets. Dodd-Frank was passed “to stop Wall Street from crashing the world again,” Dennis Kelleher, the group’s president, said in a telephone interview. “Now they’re saying they can’t do it if it costs them too much money.”

To get an idea of who has the upper hand in this fight, consider what it entails to be the chump who has to explain the “benefits” side of financial regulation. Costs can be easy to figure out. Say there’s a regulation that requires new compliance officers. Tally up the salaries. If there’s an assortment of new software you need to comply with Dodd-Frank’s reporting requirements, you call the computer vendors and get the numbers.

But how do you measure benefits, like the frauds that never happen because stricter rules are in place? Is there a dollar figure we can put on credit markets that don’t collapse? Or the elderly who don’t lose their life savings because regulators have cracked down on rip-off artists who troll retirement villages?”

Read Susan Antilla’s full Bloomberg story here

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