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December 8, 2020

New White Paper Reveals Dangers of Forcing Regulators to Conduct Cost-benefit Analysis

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Contact:  Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or

Washington, D.C.  –  Stephen Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist for Better Markets, issued the following statement upon release of a white paper on the dangers of forcing financial regulators to conduct cost-benefit analysis:

“For decades, the financial services industry has fought relentlessly to weaken or nullify regulation by forcing agencies to engage in an exhaustive and quantitative cost-benefit analysis for each rule they issue. As a new administration prepares to assume leadership of the regulatory agencies, the time is right to remember the reality: Forcing regulators to conduct quantitative cost-benefit analysis would endanger the strong rules we need to prevent another financial crisis and protect investors and consumers from fraud and abuse.

“Industry’s strategy has always had an intuitive appeal, since it conjures up the notion that every cost and benefit of a new rule can be reliably predicted, assigned a dollar value, tallied up, and weighed against each other, resulting in perfectly balanced rules.

“The reality is very different, though. Quantitative cost-benefit analysis is unreliable, inaccurate, and biased in favor of industry, as it fails to account for so many of the enormous benefits that regulation provides. It also drains away huge amounts of agency time and money and rests on the phony premise that financial regulation imposes crushing burdens on the financial services industry.

“We’ll know that a genuinely fair and reliable approach to cost-benefit analysis is available when the financial services industry and its allies stop desperately trying to foist it onto every agency. Meanwhile, regulators should remember to follow the law and what Congress has actually required—rarely is it a detailed cost-benefit analysis. And when agencies do evaluate the economic impact of their rules, they must fully account for the enormous benefits of regulation, including protections against another devastating financial crisis. At the same time, regulators must discount industry’s trumped up claims that regulation will put them out of business or deprive investors and consumers of choice in the marketplace—claims disproven again and again over the years.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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