June 02, 2010
Who Is Winning Financial Regulatory Reform?
Posted by David Zaring

There will be more to come on this question on this blog, but Daniel Alpert's pretty good "where we are so far" column raise the "Cui bono?" question.  Simon Johnson thinks that the big banks have won, but it is perhaps worth noting that there aren't howls of protest coming from the community banks or the hedge funds, their adversaries and counterparties.  It could be that the financial professionals are winning, and the laity - the pensions funds and insurance companies that get suckered by them - are losing.  But that seems a little broadly brushed.  Citadel might be the hedge fund best positioned to open a derivatives exchange.  I don't think I've sorted out who benefits from regulatory reform yet, and someone will.

You could look at it from a regulatory perspective as well.  One think we can say, at halftime, is that only one agency is really losing, the benighted (but, a co-author and I have found, not particularly poorly performing), Office of Thrift Supervision.  It gets folded in another agency.  But the SEC is getting a budget increase, the Fed the consumer protection regulator, and the Treasury Department status as the premier cabinet post.  It may be that crises really are good for regulators.

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