There were various reactions to news about the White House dismantling Dodd-Frank regulation. Some were celebratory and others critical, but one thing is for sure: It’s a very big deal.
The financial crisis and the chaos around it forced thousands out of foreclosed homes, left soon to be retirees with depleted funds, put Lehman Brothers out of business and left the U.S. economy licking its wounds for years.
Dodd-Frank and its byproducts including the Volcker Rule, bank stress tests, the CFPB and the fiduciary rule, though not perfect, have had a single goal: protect investors and the economy from another destabilizing financial crisis.
But just as its creation and implementation was long and complex so will Dodd-Frank’s possible repeal.
A UBS report today noted that while the executive orders about regulation carry “symbolic significance” the legislative process presents some clear constraints. More specifically, “proposals to change components of Dodd-Frank require Senate approval, where 60 votes are needed (and, hence, support from Democrats).”
As for the fiduciary rule, the one that requires brokers to put their clients’ interest before their own, that’s going to take some time as well. The delay seems certain but beyond that, UBS says, is more difficult to tell:
The acting Secretary of Labor is already working to delay the fiduciary rule. However, without a confirmed Labor Secretary, the outlook for the rule beyond that is unclear. Andrew Puzder’s appointment has been drawn out and seems likely to be a challenging confirmation process. Importantly, the Fiduciary rule is currently being challenged in a N. Texas Court case, which may also impact the fate of the rule.
More interestingly and importantly, it seems most big banks with brokerage arms are ready to comply with the fiduciary rule as planned.
Back in December, before the call to delay the rule, Wells Fargo sent a note to its financial advisors saying it was planning for all scenarios regarding the rule. “In the meantime, we will continue preparing for an April 2017 implementation,” the note reads.
Here’s what Wells Fargo said about the situation today:
“We continue to support higher standards of care for our investment clients, and will continue to work with our regulators to that end. We also strongly encourage a harmonized standard for all client accounts, taxable and nontaxable.”
Morgan Stanley had this to say, “We will continue to move forward with many of the initiatives we have underway, reflecting our ongoing commitment to raising the standard of care we provide our retirement and non-retirement clients.”
Says SDSU professor Seth Kaplowitz, “Remember the reason for the implementation of the FR was to protect people’s money invested for retirement by requiring that the brokers could only work in the client’s best interest, not their own (how novel) in terms of how the money was invested. In other words, brokers should be more concerned about their client’s investment and less concerned about what products pay the highest commissions.”