Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank plans to propose regulations within the next few months for firms whose failure may endanger the financial system.
“We anticipate putting out a package of proposed rules for comment this summer,” Bernanke said in testimony prepared for a Senate Banking Committee hearing today on the progress of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The rules will cover areas including “enhanced” capital requirements and annual Fed stress tests, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.
Bernanke, whose remarks were published yesterday, is scheduled to testify along with Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh; Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro.
The FSOC, created by the Dodd-Frank Act and led by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, is charged with identifying and monitoring companies whose collapse would threaten the financial system.
The SEC is conducting a “broad-based appraisal” of equity markets to determine whether rules have kept pace with developments in trading technologies and strategies, according Schapiro’s prepared remarks. The SEC, which is soliciting comments on high-frequency trading and opaque markets, also has proposed requirements for reporting by bigger traders and recommended building a consolidated data system for market surveillance.
“These proposals would tremendously enhance regulators’ ability to identify significant market participants, collect information on their activity, and analyze their trading behavior,” according to Schapiro’s remarks.
The FSOC should use caution when responding to emerging risks in the banking system and deliberate “in a manner that assures” confidentiality, Walsh said in his prepared testimony.
These discussions “could undermine public and investor confidence and thereby create or exacerbate a potentially systemic problem,” according to Walsh’s testimony.
Bair, who will leave her post at the FDIC July 8, plans to urge that banks strengthen capital standards to improve U.S. lenders’ ability to compete, according to her prepared testimony.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision agreed to increase capital requirements to limit failures that would disrupt the global economy. Bair, who was a member of the Basel committee, has urged U.S. regulators to strengthen these global standards, known as Basel III.
“Basel III is not perfect, but it is a great improvement over what came before,” according to Bair’s testimony.
Dodd-Frank rules requiring that swaps dealers post margin and that derivatives are settled by a central clearinghouse will reduce risk to the financial system, Gensler said in his prepared testimony. A proposal to require daily pricing of derivatives trades would help prevent another credit crisis, according to the remarks.
“This daily valuation will help prevent similar scenarios to 2008 when we were unable to price ‘toxic assets,’” according to Gensler’s testimony.
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