It's the first of July. Which means we're just twenty days away from the one year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank bill. Americans were promised "sweeping changes" but what we got so far is mostly uncertainty. Many of the new regulations demanded by the law have yet to be written and regulators are trying to extend some of the deadlines in order to properly create such regulations. But even when the rules are written, how should we give Wall Street to get its houses in order?
I asked that crucial question to Jon Corzine, MF Global CEO and former New Jersey Governor.
LL: During the month of July we'll be hearing a lot about the various Dodd-Frank regulations that will be implemented. Problem is many of regulations coming to a head on these deadlines are still in the process of being written. In a recent interview with Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) he dropped a bill that would give Wall Street 60 days to respond to the new regulations. Is that enough?
JC: Its inevitable when you write a huge reform legislation, that regulation roll out would be delayed. Uncertainty will continue to hang over the markets until the regulation is written. But that said, an adjustment process is needed and I think Representative Grimm's time frame for Wall Street to get their house in order may not be enough time.
In some instances, as technology systems will have to be reprogrammed and other significant adjustments will need to be developed and implemented. There are more than just the regulations being handed down that need to be considered. The internal workings of the firm and programs used also need to be recalibrated. That's why you want professional regulators, not Congress, writing the actual regulations and putting things into detail.
LL: Putting on your MF Global Hat, what do you think the impact of these regulations will be? Does it create more opportunity for you?
JC: A major component of regulation is more democratization of the markets, which will allow more people to participate, which is a good thing for the investment community. This is also good for MF Global, as it will allow for a more attractive competitive environment and opportunity for firms like ours to serve the under-serviced middle market. We believe these clients are most likely to be left behind as large banks are forced to limit their risk intermediation activities.
LL: Let's talk about the capital requirements for banks and the possibility of the reform creating an uncompetitive landscape for the US banks. What would be reasonable time in your opinion to have such regulation crafted in order to avoid that?
JC: A year or longer in my opinion would be reasonable. This is a big task. Look at the trouble the Europeans had with the June 30 deadline on Greece? I can only imagine how hard it will be to get Singapore, Switzerland, the EU and US to get on the same page. This just illustrates the degree of difficulty in an interconnected world where information passes at lightning speed. It’s a different world than years ago.
A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."
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