every day a new “executive action”

buh-bye-dodd-frank

Buh byes Dodd-Frank Act.

To me as a former Compliance Officer I am mixed on this.  Five years ago around this time I left a job and regulators I detested. I had recently finished breast cancer treatment and I was exhausted.  And my head wasn’t in the game any longer.  Being a Compliance Officer is like being the nanny to recalcitrant adult toddlers. So I decided to leave because essentially that is what you are supposed to do. It was not an easy decision and there was that great unknown quality, but stress kills and post breast cancer my doctors said flat out to reduce my stress or I would most definitely suffer a recurrence.

And amusingly enough, a couple of weeks after I resigned my job some of the SEC either five or six regulators who were assigned to overseeing my branch of the financial services industry called me on my cell phone after I left  my old company – you see when compliance officers leave, regulated businesses have to file about that – it is a material change to a company in the financial services industry.  Therefore, in a sense, my decision to leave because of breast cancer became a public one of sorts.   (Good thing I decided from jump to be open about my breast cancer, right?)

Anyway, I can’t say I didn’t expect the call, nor was it completely out of the realm of normal.  It still, however,  irritated the crap out of me – one because my cell phone isn’t just out there with directory assistance, and secondly because government has this big brother aspect at times that I find incredibly intrusive and in a sense at times runs contrary to the freedoms our founding fathers bled for two hundred some odd years ago.

I told them yes, I really did have breast cancer, really was treated for breast cancer,  and yes having breast cancer really did motivate me to look at my life and make changes.  So the part of me who had to deal with that then cheers what Trump did today BUT then there is my rational mind.  And my rational mind knows that there do need to be regulations.

I think I can safely say trying to navigate under Dodd-Frank was a hot mess BUT it was put in place for very good and valid reasons. Remember 2008? A guy named Madoff?

Dodd-Frank is large, no huge. Dodd Frank is also cumbersome and interpretations of rules always felt like  a moving target at best .  People were never sure if even the regulators knew which end was up a lot of the time, but hey it did increase the presence and budget on the Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t it?

Obviously I feel Trump is and always will be Wall Street’s boy although I do think that he makes them nervous because of his unpredictable nature.

Elizabeth Warren said today I believe as per The Street:

“Donald Trump talked a big game about Wall Street during his campaign — but as President, we’re finding out whose side he’s really on,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “The Wall Street bankers and lobbyists whose greed and recklessness nearly destroyed this country may be toasting each other with champagne, but the American people have not forgotten the 2008 financial crisis – and they will not forget what happened today.”

 

She’s not wrong.  And (again)  the problem is the Democrats had quite a few years to work out the kinks on Dodd-Frank and they did not.

It was introduced as “The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009” (H.R. 4173)  December 2, 2009 – described as “an Act to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end “too big to fail”, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.”

But where I think parts of it should have been rolled back and/or amended I think rolling it ALL back is a mistake and will open up American investors to harm with no recourse.

But as Bloomberg is reporting:

Trump on Friday signed two directives aimed at starting the process of rolling back restrictions put in place to prevent another financial crisis. Among the targets are rules that guard against predatory lenders, force brokers to lower fees for retirees and ban proprietary trading — protections that consumer advocates vowed to defend….“We’re going to attack all aspects of Dodd-Frank,” Gary Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council and former Goldman Sachs president, said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The administration “can do quite a bit” without help from lawmakers, Cohn said, “but the more help we get from Congress the better off we’re all going to be.”

Does everyone remember MCI Worldcom?  Years ago at another job I was in an office building where MCI Worldcom had a presence.  I remember the day many many moons ago when I ran into a single mom who worked for WorldCom after she had lost her job AND after she lost all of her years of retirement savings when they went bust.  It’s something you don’t forget.

Now Wall Street must be cheering.  Fat cats hate, hate, hate rules and regulation.  But you do actually need it. Greed is good to fictional characters like Gordon Gekko, but in reality, greed is not a good motivator.

Forbes has an interesting piece out on aspects of Dodd-Frank they think should be retained.

Here is what NPR had to say a little while ago:

President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Trump himself made his intentions clear in a meeting with small business owners Monday. “Dodd-Frank is a disaster,” Trump said. “We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank.”…”This is not an attempt to undo Dodd-Frank,” the administration official insisted before going on to explain that some of the work of changing regulations, including the so-called Volcker Rule to mitigate risks, could be done through personnel, putting Trump-allied people in charge at agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Small business owners and everyday mom and pop small investors are exactly the types of folks who need protection.

And Washington D.C. always runs on the buddy system, but now we are talking scary buddies, or we are seeing what happens when you let the foxes have fun in the hen house.

One of the quotes which stood out in the New York Times this afternoon is:

“We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that had nice businesses, they can’t borrow money,” Mr. Trump said in the State Dining Room during his meeting with business leaders. “They just can’t get any money because the banks just won’t let them borrow it because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank.”

Respectfully Mr. President, maybe some of your friends shouldn’t be getting loans?

Trump signing this latest Executive Order (he seems to issue forth with them like farts) doesn’t mean he can like magic immediately undo Dodd-Frank. Which means Americans really should be calling their elected representatives about this, immigration, environmental issues, the Affordable Care Act and so many things.

MODERATION.  We seem to be missing that with this new administration.  At times we missed in in the prior administration. But it is what we desperately need before this great nation of ours completely dissolves into riot.

But as far as Dodd-Frank goes (and mind you I do not want to make my readers’ eyes glaze over), I leave you with this:

You know how Showtime has a show called Billions? Well it might be a Hollywood created drama, but well let’s just say they take their inspiration from the real world.

We need a system of checks and balances in this country and with good and proven reason. (see Too Big To Fail)

Right now as American we are riding on the tail of a tsunami.  That’s not good for anyone.

 

 

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