On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the "Act") became law. The U.S. Congress designed the Act to address what it perceived to be a vast number of failures that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Act contains sweeping reform of many aspects of the greater financial system in the United States. It affects the banks, investment funds, insurance companies, investment advisors, corporations and credit-rating agencies that operate within the financial system as well as the regulatory bodies that oversee the system itself. From the elimination of the decades-old U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision and the creation of new regulatory bodies in its place to the required registration of advisors to private investment funds, the Act also changes the nature, number and identity of the agencies that regulate and the institutions that are regulated.
The Act requires new and existing regulatory agencies to undertake more than 50 studies of the financial system and its participants, and more than 250 instances of rulemaking. The most focused period of this regulatory activity is the next 18 months. Congress has given the agencies considerable discretion in designing the final rules, such that the eventual impact of the Act may be difficult to foresee from its text. However, regulations are likely to be adopted in stages, which may afford market participants the opportunity to analyze each successive regulation and adopt new procedures and behavior where required.
The Act addresses the following topics; for further information on a particular topic, please click on its hyperlinked title to access a detailed Alert...
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