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Statement on the Anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act

Chair Mary Jo White

July 17, 2014

The fourth anniversary of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act provides an opportunity to reflect on why the Act was passed, how the SEC has used the Act to promote financial stability and protect American investors, and what remains to be completed.  The financial crisis was devastating, resulting in untold losses for American households and demonstrating the need for strong and effective regulatory action to prevent any recurrence.

In my first year as Chair of the SEC, the Commission has made significant progress in putting to work the tools provided by the Dodd-Frank Act.  We have implemented new restrictions on the proprietary activities of financial institutions through the Volcker Rule, created a new regulatory framework for municipal advisors, put in place strong new controls on broker-dealers that hold customer assets, reduced reliance on credit ratings and barred bad actors from securities offerings.  We have pushed forward new rules for previously unregulated derivatives, and we have begun implementing additional executive compensation disclosures.  We have also advanced significant new standards for the clearing agencies that stand at the center of our financial system.  And, I expect the Commission will soon implement critical Dodd-Frank Act rules for credit rating agencies and securitization, in addition to finalizing important new rules for money market funds.  I want to express my admiration and gratitude to the SEC staff for their hard work and exceptional dedication on all of these efforts.

Among the many areas the SEC was directed to address under the Dodd-Frank Act, certain ones stand apart to me – asset management, especially private fund advisers; proprietary activities by financial institutions; derivatives; clearance and settlement; credit rating agencies; asset-backed securities; municipal advisors; and executive compensation.  The Commission has already completed the mandates in half of these areas.  In the other areas, we have issued proposals and shortly will be finalizing some of the most important.

We must continue our work with intensity, and we must be deliberate as we consider and prioritize our remaining mandates and deploy our broadened regulatory authority.  Progress will ultimately be measured based on whether we have implemented rules that create a strong and effective regulatory framework and stand the test of time under intense scrutiny in rapidly changing financial markets.  Beyond the mandated rulemakings, the Dodd-Frank Act established the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which provides an important forum for the financial regulators to meet and work together to identify current and future systemic risks.  The overarching objective of all of the regulators must be to help safeguard our economy and investors from another financial crisis.

Our responsibility is much greater than simply ‘checking the box’ and declaring the job done.  We must be focused on fundamental and lasting reform.  That is what I committed to Congress, the agency and investors when I first arrived, and that is what I remain pledged to do.

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