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Trump orders review of bank, retirement rules

President Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as he walks from White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, to the South Lawn to board Marine One for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. en route to West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump Friday ordered a review of banking regulations introduced after the 2008 financial crisis, including a review of a rule on retirement advice. Trump pledged during his campaign to replace the Dodd-Frank law introduced under the Obama administration which raised capital requirements for banks, restricted their trading by means of the “Volcker Rule,” and also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

A presidential order also imposed a 180-day delay on the implementation of a “fiduciary rule” for brokers offering retirement advice, according to a draft memo seen by Reuters.

During that time the U.S. Labor Department is to conduct an economic and legal analysis of the regulation and rescind the rule if it is inconsistent with Trump administration priorities, according to the memo, which is not final.

Originally slated to take effect in April, the rule requires brokers to act as “fiduciaries,” or in their clients’ best interests, when advising them on retirement plans. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups are seeking to have the fiduciary rule overturned in court. A federal judge reviewing the case signaled in a court filing Thursday that she plans to issue a decision no later than Feb. 10.

Democrats and consumer rights groups say the rule is necessary to protect individuals against potential conflicts of interest that brokers may have when guiding them to invest.

U.S. Republicans Friday also repealed a rule aimed at curbing corruption at oil, gas and mining companies, and voted to axe emissions limits on drilling operations, part of a push to remove Obama-era regulations on the energy industry.

Trump’s order on reviewing the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform regulations may be largely symbolic though because only Congress can rewrite the legislation, but Wall Street embraced the possibility of simpler bank regulations by pushing financial stocks up in morning trade.

“The first thing that we are going to attack is regulation, over-regulation. It’s not just in the financial markets, it’s in all markets,” White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said on Fox Business Network Friday. “So today you’re going to start seeing the beginning of some of our executive actions to roll back regulation in the financial services market,” he said.

Dodd-Frank, the biggest Wall Street regulatory overhaul in decades, set out a long list of rules intended to keep the financial system from a repeat of the 2007-09 crisis. The rules included strict new capital standards on banks, called for annual stress tests for banks considered “too big to fail,” provided more oversight of derivatives trading, and restricted trading on their own account by means of the so-called “Volcker rule.” The legislation also created a new consumer protection watchdog to guard against predatory lending.

Analysts said Trump could make many changes without involving lawmakers, such as by appointing new personnel or simply choosing not to enforce rules already enacted.

“A lot of the regulations of Dodd-Frank required a bit of a cop-on-the-beat if you will, to ensure enforcement and if you have a different cop-on-the-beat, they enforce different rules, or they enforce the rules differently,” FBR & CO financial policy analyst Edward Mills said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 04, 2017, on page 4.

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