Regulators may enact Volcker Rule next week -- and delay its implementation


Volcker Rule Said Set for Dec. 10 Approval by U.S. Agencies

By Jesse Hamilton
Bloomberg News
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WASHINGTON -- At least three U.S. regulators will meet on Dec. 10 to adopt the final version of the Volcker Rule banning banks from making speculative bets with their own money, according to three people familiar with the planning.

The Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are scheduling meetings to act on the rule on that date, said the people, who requested anonymity because the schedule hasn't been announced.

Two other agencies that need to approve the rule -- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission -- are trying to arrange Dec. 10 votes as well, three other people familiar with that effort said. The agencies are not required to approve the rule at the same time.

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The agencies' approval would be the final stage in the process of adopting the Volcker rule, a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 global credit crisis. The final version is also expected to extend the rule's compliance dates, which was sought by Wall Street banks and trade groups.

CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler raised objections that a recent draft of the rule wasn't strong enough, according to three people familiar with the negotiations. If the regulators resolve such issues by next week, the rule would be on track to meet a self-imposed year-end deadline.

The rule, named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who championed it as an adviser to President Barack Obama, is aimed at preventing banks with insured deposits and access to discount borrowing from engaging in speculative trading that could threaten their stability.

Banks currently have until July 21 to implement the Volcker rule, even though regulators are behind the schedule outlined by Dodd-Frank. Industry representatives have been assured by regulators that that deadline will probably be extended, according to three people involved in the discussions.

In a letter sent to regulators last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the rule should be reproposed because "many fundamental issues" have emerged since the comment period closed. Specifically, the chamber said there had been reports of changes to the proposal's hedging provision after JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $6.2 billion trading loss.

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