Major changes lie ahead of the banking sector. But will increased regulations prevent another crisis like the one now shaking world economies?
The changes are wide ranging and will affect banks, insurers, credit rating agencies, hedge funds, private equity firms, brokerages, exchanges and other institutions.
Although the reforms are many, they all share one common theme; greatly extending the government's reach into the financial sector.
And that leads our Fast Money Reader Poll. Will increased regulations prevent another banking crisis like the one now shaking world economies?
Before you answer, you might want to read below. We’ve put together a quick synopsis of the biggest changes.
A U.S. Senate committee and a House subcommittee have approved bills to crack down on the credit card industry by limiting fees and barring retroactive interest rate increases on existing balances, among other steps.
The Federal Reserve finalized new credit card rules last year, but some lawmakers were unhappy with the Fed's long, 18-month implementation period. The Senate bill calls for a nine-month implementation; the House bill for one year from approval, or by July 2010, whichever comes first.
Political risk exposure: American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citigroup, Discover Financial Services.
UNWINDING FAILING FIRMS
The administration has sent Congress draft legislation to empower the government to seize and unwind large, failing financial firms that are not banks.
No clear procedure for doing this now exists, as shown by the erratic, case-by-case bailouts of troubled firms such as insurer American International Group.
SYSTEMIC RISK REGULATOR
Treasury wants a single, independent regulator to oversee systemically important firms and critical payment and settlement systems, but has not said which agency should get this job. No agency formally does it now.
The House has approved a bill to curb "excessive" employee pay at firms getting government bailout funds.
It would let the Treasury block compensation and bonuses not based on performance standards. It would apply to all employees, not just executives, at bailed-out firms.
HEDGE FUNDS, PRIVATE EQUITY
Treasury has recommended that all advisers to hedge funds, private equity funds and venture capital funds, whose assets under management top a not-yet-determined level, must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Political risk exposure: Bridgewater Associates, D.E. Shaw Group, Farallon Capital Management, Citadel Investment Group, Fortress Investment Group.
The SEC has floated five proposals to curb short selling, drawing fire from short sellers who feel they are being made scapegoats for the financial crisis.
The agency is taking public comment for 60 days on the proposals, which include reinstituting the "uptick rule," which allows such bets that a stock will fall only when the last sale price was higher than the previous price.
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CNBC.com with Reuters