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December 12, 2013

Strength of the Volcker Rule Hinges on Implementation

“On Tuesday, five federal agencies approved a key financial reform intended to keep banks from making risky bets for their own profit. Known as the Volcker rule, the regulation took three years to finalize and withstood a concentrated lobbying front from Wall Street and business groups.

“As recently as last month financial reformers expressed concern that the final rule would leave critical loopholes open and fail to stop banks from engaging in speculative trading, with taxpayers vulnerable to big losses. But after seventy-one pages of official guidelines were unveiled yesterday, reform advocates appear to have won their campaign for a stronger law. But because of critical gray areas in the rule, how much stability it restores to the financial system depends on implementation and enforcement.

“’Today’s finalization of the Volcker Rule ban on proprietary trading is a major defeat for Wall Street and a direct attack on the high-risk ‘quick-buck’ culture of Wall Street,’ said Dennis Kelleher, the president of the advocacy group Better Markets, in a statement. ‘Regulators have resisted much of the heavy Wall Street pressure to weaken an earlier proposal. In fact, they seem to have strengthened the rule in several significant ways,’ wrote Americans for Financial Reform, another advocacy coalition. “

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Read full The Nation article here

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