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Open letter to regulators in the wake of the Gensler legacy.

16 January 2014  |  1944 views  |  0

 

Dear Commodities Future Trading Commission, Financial Stability Board, Financial Conduct Authority, European Commission and Federal Reserve,

 

Now is not the time to wilt under pressure from a banking industry that has had things its own way for far too long. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, public sentiment dictated that change was needed in the global banking industry - individuals and firms needed to be held accountable for their actions. Impulsive and greedy decisions needed to be eradicated and the whole financial sector needed to become more transparent.

 

Time has gone on and bills have been passed, however do not let the banking industry regress back to past habits. On his departure from the CFTC, Gary Gensler said: "Our goal was reforming and bringing transparency to the swaps market. Everything organized around that." Each regulator will have their own goals and their own bones of contention with the banks, but the overall objective of the Dodd-Frank era is a universal one - bring about transparency and accountability and, in the words of Mr Gensler, let everything else be organized around this overriding goal.

Such principles have led to accusations of heavy-handedness, but this is not the time for indecision. The CFTC has set a good example among regulators in regard to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform laws. It has passed 68 rules to regulate the swaps market, one that is worth around $400 trillion and was previously unregulated. It has outlined the cost-effective benefits of cloud-based Dodd-Frank compliant call recording in the face of the banking industry's lamentations of laws that impose time and monetary compliance burdens on organisations.

It has so far led the way.

Now, the CFTC faces more resistance. The regulator's detractors believe it has overstepped its remit, particularly on cross-border swaps rules. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the Institute of International Bankers filed a lawsuit against the CFTC for among other things failing to conduct legally-required cost benefit analysis.

Bank lobbyist pressure is everywhere at this crucial juncture, with major players in Wall Street having opposed Volcker rule for two years, however regulators must not lose sight of their goal. While public sentiment remains with them, they must do all they can to protect the public from further economic harm.

Indeed, Mr Gensler looked back on his previous career at the Treasury and wished he had been stronger.

"You’ve got to take your message to the public,” Mr Gensler said. “It’s a very complex subject so that helps inform the debate. That’s part of how you build consensus."

So, to the American Banking Association we say fight your cause, but consider the needs of the public first. Do not hide behind veils of compliance costs when transparency is demonstrably cost-effective. Be proud of your efforts to dispel the opaque nature of a sector that many would say owes the taxpayer a great deal.

Embrace the Dodd-Frank, call recording and transparency era of change and work alongside regulators for what is in the best interest of all.

Respectfully, 

Curtis Nash, 

Cognia CEO

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