Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain's Financial Regulation

As reported in the NYTimes, the McCain campaign has laid out a four point financial regulation plan:
  1. All financial institutions must have a "safety and soundness regulator,"
  2. Greater consumer protection, e.g. easy-to-read mortgages,
  3. Improved corporate governance, e.g. putting executive compensation to a shareholder vote, and
  4. "the last piece is sort of the systems stability issues."
Not much substance, especially on the "systems stability" issue. It would be interesting to see how the specific example in No. 3 would be implemented--what happens if shareholders vote "no" on the compensation package?

No. 1 is primarily aimed at setting up a regulated derivatives clearing house, with the idea that:
You can’t possibly assess the safety and soundness of an institution if you can’t get clarity each day with where they stand in their net positions versus the people they’re trading with.

No word on what accounting method other than mark-to-market would be used to net daily positions, or what the actual role of the "safety and soundness regulator" would be.

Would the bailiwick of the CFTC be enlarged?
Create a new agency? Go DHS and merge the SEC and CFTC under the Fed?

As with all election proposals, everyone wants to see more.

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