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StrategyDriven Podcast Series

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Expanding Uncertainty in the U.S. Financial Sector, part 1

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law a sweeping financial reform bill that creates massive uncertainty and inequity in the marketplace; positioning the United States for yet more turmoil and future catastrophic financial collapse. In this and future StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective articles, we’ll examine various aspects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and as always, we’ll provide our perspective on the actions business leaders can take to help ensure their organizations survive this ill-conceived legislation.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act enacts 243 new rules governing the financial sector, far more than the 16 rules and 6 studies required by the post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.1 Provisions of the law provide for creation of a number of new government organizations and expansion of government authority including:

  • creation of a new consumer watchdog organization, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • establishment of a new financial early warning system, the Financial Services Oversight Council
  • bestows new corporate breakup authority to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • mandates tighter controls over financial firms and
  • directs mortgage finance reforms, though does not address the issues related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; organizations that significantly contributed to the financial meltdown in the first place2

“No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”
 
Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut)
on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act3


We agree with Senator Dodd. No one could possibly know or be able to anticipate fully how this massive reform bill will impact not just the financial marketplace but the American business landscape as a whole. It is in part because of this massive, self-induced, and unnecessary marketplace uncertainty that we believe this bill is so utterly wrong.

Reforms are needed but can be put into place in a more incremental fashion that allows for an understanding of the ramifications of the acts taken. The hundreds of rules mandated by this law will likely take years to write and still more years for companies to understand and comply with – all driving increased uncertainty and turmoil in an already fragile and depressed economy for a long time to come.

StrategyDriven Recommended Practices

The great marketplace uncertainty created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will not end anytime soon. Therefore, StrategyDriven recommends organization leaders take the following actions:

  • Seek a reputable assessment of the financial reform’s impact on your organization. Before substantive definition to the hundreds of new regulations is developed, it will be difficult to identify specific impacts to any particular organization. However, experts in the field can provide some insight based on historic precedents as they relate to current market circumstances. One such firm already providing such insight is Deloitte Consulting LLP in their recent publication: Assessing the Impact of U.S. Financial Regulatory Reform.
  • Establish a business posture that positions your organization to rapidly and flexibly respond as regulations become defined. Again, precedents will suggest the direction government agencies will take when defining the new regulations. Ensuring your organization has a programmatic foundation allowing it to move in the direction of the new regulations while still being flexible enough to respond to the nuanced details that will be defined in the coming months and years positions your company for success over those not making such preparations.
  • Monitor the regulations as they are developed. Being watchful of the government’s positions during the regulatory definition phase allows for ongoing adjustments to be made to the foundational programs previously recommended. This will minimize the scope and scale of adjustments that will need to be made once the regulations are finalized.
  • Monitor the marketplace for impacts and shifts associated with the new financial reforms. Inevitably, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will impact many businesses and reshape consumerism. Changes in the marketplace will create new and eliminate existing business opportunities. Maintaining a watchful eye on the market will better enable your business to take advantage of these changes while simultaneously avoiding the risks.

Final Thought…

In the coming editions of the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective, we’ll look at the potential impacts of several provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act including:

  • risks created through establishment of minority and gender quotas
  • extension of government control beyond direct players in the financial market
  • impacts of ‘too big to fail’ provisions on market risk
  • proportionately larger burden of the new law on small companies

As always, we’ll provide our thoughts on how business leaders can best prepare for the implementation of the financial reform law and weather the storm in the long-term. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts, lessons learned, and recommended resources with us and the StrategyDriven audience.

Final Request…

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Sources

  1. “Obama signs sweeping bank-reform bill into law,” Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch, July 21, 2010 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-signs-sweeping-bank-reform-bill-into-law-2010-07-21-12200)
  2. “Financial reform law: What’s in it and how does it work?,” Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2010 (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0721/Financial-reform-law-What-s-in-it-and-how-does-it-work)
  3. “Lawmakers guide Dodd-Frank bill for Wall Street reform into homestretch,” David Cho, Jia Lynn Yang, and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post, June 26, 2010 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675_pf.html)