Last week, the Senate approved some substantial overhauls to the financial regulatory system. The landscape is about to change and CPAs will need to know who the new sheriffs are. As best I can tell, we gained two new agencies and lost one.
The first is the Financial Stability Oversight Council. This is group that will be charged with identifying companies, products or activities that pose a “systemic risk” to the economy. They will make recommendations to the FDIC who then has the authority to curtail or shut down these activities. This seems a little bit like the way FASAC and FASB are supposed to operate. FASAC makes the recommendations, FASB has the power to set standards. We’ll see how well it works.
The next is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This group has gotten the most attention because it’s the one who’s job it is to protect poor, innocent consumers from being taken advantage of by the big, mean banks. Seems like a good idea. You know what’s a better idea? People learning about finance, so they don’t put themselves in that position in the first place. [Soapbox complete]. And the one we lost is….drumroll….the Office of Thrift Supervision. OTS was like that weird uncle everyone knows does something important but nobody knows what. Well, they’re gone now and their responsibilities have been rolled elsewhere. Sorry OTS. Reuters has a small fact box with a link to the complete bill if you would like to read it.