The Federal Reserve has announced that it will be making changes to the Volcker Rule, and the Fed along with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Changes proposed include simplifying and clarifying the operation and compliance requirements of the rule, permitting banking entities to engage in additional fund-related activities, as well as improving and clarifying the treatment of foreign funds.
In a statement, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, denounced the changes, stating that regulators are "working overtime to weaken a regulation that he fought tirelessly for by allowing banks to gamble with taxpayer money."
“The Volcker Rule is a cornerstone of Wall Street reform that Congress passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to prevent federally-insured, deposit-taking banks from engaging in risky, speculative activities, on the backs of the American taxpayers, said Congresswoman Waters. "In August, regulators senselessly weakened the proprietary trading section of this critical rule. Today, they are proposing to allow banks to invest in the same risky assets that contributed heavily to the financial crisis and to become more entangled in private equity and hedge funds. At a time when prudential regulators should be working to uphold consumer protections, we continue to see a series of deregulatory actions by Trump appointees that benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street."
Waters goes on to call on the regulators to "reconsider this and every other senseless attack on the Volcker Rule."
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is currently seeking public comment on the changes proposed to the regulations implementing section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act (BHC Act).
“I am encouraged that the agencies have proposed a rule to improve, streamline, and clarify the ‘covered funds’ portion of the Volcker Rule,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. “These changes are necessary to improve market liquidity and preserve access to diverse sources of capital for businesses.”
“As I have said before, the intent behind the Volcker rule is the right one—banks should not use deposits that are insured by taxpayers to make risky proprietary trades or investments in hedge funds and private equity funds,” said Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell. “We now have considerable supervisory experience putting that common sense prohibition into practice, and we have learned that a simpler, clearer approach to implementing the rule makes it easier for both banks and regulators to carry out the intent of the rule. We have already taken several steps in that direction and the proposal before us continues that work.”