Monday, May 24, 2010

Briefing Paper Examines Senate Legislation

The CCH Editorial Staff of banking and securities law analysts has authored a detailed overview titled, "Senate Passes Sweeping Financial Reform Bill" available here and excerpted below.

On May 20, 2010, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to restructure the financial services regulatory system by a vote of 59 to 39. As discussed in this briefing paper, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S 3217, the Senate version of H.R. 4173) would institute far-reaching reforms, including the creation of an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau housed within the Federal Reserve Board and new federal government power to wind down large, failing financial institutions.

The bill would establish a nine-member Financial Services Oversight Council to oversee systemic risk, strengthen regulation of financial holding companies and abolish the Office of Thrift Supervision, transferring its functions to the Fed, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Other provisions of the bill would establish strict oversight of the derivatives market, including mandatory clearing and trading and real-time reporting of derivatives trades. It further calls for banks to spin off their derivatives activities. The legislation would also allow the Government Accountability Office to conduct a one-time audit of the Fed’s emergency lending activities during the financial crisis and would establish the Office of National Insurance to supervise insurance products, other than health insurance, at the federal level.

Among other measures, the bill would also institute numerous investor protections, including stricter oversight of credit rating agencies, shareholder “say on pay,” and expanded SEC enforcement powers.