Finally The Farce That Is Fin Reg Reform Passes And Wall Street Can Resume Its Rapid March To Financial Armageddon

Tyler Durden's picture

As if anyone thought otherwise, the final shape of finreg has now been formalized and as Shahien Nasiripour at the Huffington Post notes, "many of the measures that offered the greatest chances to fundamentally reshape how the Street conducts business have been struck out, weakened, or rendered irrelevant." Congrats, middle class, once again you get raped by Wall Street, which is off to the races to yet again rapidly blow itself up courtesy of 30x leverage, unlimited discount window usage, trillions in excess reserves, quadrillions in unregulated derivatives, a TBTF framework that has been untouched and will need a rescue in under a year, non-existent accounting rules, a culture of unmitigated greed, and all of Congress and Senate on its payroll. And, sorry, you can't even vote some of the idiots that passed this garbage out: after all there is a retiring lame duck in charge of it all. We can only hope his annual Wall Street (i.e. taxpayer funded) annuity will satisfy his conscience for destroying any hope America could have of a credible financial system.

From Huff Po:

The two most high-profile provisions were the last items to be considered. Neither emerged intact. One would have forced banks to stop trading financial instruments with their own capital and give up their stakes in hedge funds and private equity funds, named after their original proponent, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The other would have compelled banks to raise tens of billions of dollars because they'd have to spin off their derivatives-dealing operations into separately-capitalized affiliates within the bank holding company, pushed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln. As currently practiced both activities are highly lucrative, annually generating billions for the nation's megbanks.

Ultimately, despite widespread approval among those pushing for fundamental reform in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, yet perhaps aided by near-unanimous revulsion among those on Wall Street, both were watered down in front of C-SPAN cameras beginning around 11 p.m. ET. Democratic lawmakers had been rushing to complete the bill by Friday morning under a self-imposed deadline. The final vote was recorded at 5:40 a.m. The conference began their final day just before 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Among the "compromises" were the push to have Tier 1 instead of Tangible Common Equity as a variable in determining how much could be invested in hedge funds and private firms:

After days of leaks to the news media that the Senate was looking to ease the restrictions, on Thursday afternoon Senate conferees confirmed the rumors: banks could invest up to three percent of their tangible common equity in hedge funds and private equity firms. Tangible common equity -- considered to be the strongest form of bank capital -- is comprised of shareholder equity. A few hours later, the Senate amended its proposal, changing the metric from tangible common equity to Tier One capital. Banks have more Tier One capital than they have tangible common equity, so changing the requirement to the weaker form of capital allows banks to invest more of their cash in hedge funds and private equity funds. The concession was confirmed by Steven Adamske, spokesman for House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.

Unlike Dodd, luckily Barney Frank can at least be voted out.

The 1.5% to 3.0% increase was solely dictated by Jamie Dimon so that the firm could keep its investment in mega fund Highbridge and have breathing room for other asset management allocations. From FT:

The limit for JPMorgan Chase, which owns a hedge fund called Highbridge and a private equity group, would be about $2.8bn. People close to JPMorgan said the company had more than $1bn invested in Highbridge alone.

Limits for Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, securities houses with smaller balance sheets, would be lower: about $900m for Morgan Stanley, which has already signalled its intention to sell its stakes in hedge funds, and about $1.78bn for Goldman, which has a large and very profitable fund business.

For those who remember that Obama, to great fanfare, said prop trading would spin off, well, it's good to see the President was purchased by Dimon's henchmen too:

As for the measure's proposed ban on banks trading with their own money, also known as proprietary trading, the agreed-upon provision calls for federal financial regulators to study the measure, then issue rules implementing it based on the results of that study. It could be anything from an outright ban to a barely-there limit.

Finally, on Lincoln's derivative spin off proposal, it appears that one is DOA as well:

Lincoln's divisive measure had been reached.

"There's been some work done by the administration and some of the senators on a potential compromise, I guess you could call it," said Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, in a reference to the Obama administration.

The negotiations were not public.

Rather than banks being forced to spin off their swaps desks, they'd be allowed to keep those units dealing with "the biggest part of all these derivatives," Peterson said. The rest would be pushed out to an affiliate.

Under the agreement, reached late Thursday, banks would continue to be allowed to deal interest rate and foreign exchange swaps, "credit derivatives referencing investment-grade entities that are cleared," derivatives referencing gold and silver, and the firms would be allowed to hedge "for the banks' own risk."

Banks would be forced to push out to their affiliates derivatives referencing "cleared and uncleared commodities, energies and metals (with the exception of gold and silver), agriculture, credit derivatives referencing non-investment grade entities and all equities, and any uncleared credit default swaps," Peterson said.

"Frankly, the biggest part of all these derivatives, by far, are the ones that I named that are going to be able to stay in the bank," Peterson added. "Interest rate and foreign exchange are by far the greatest part of the amount of business that's involved here."

In other words, the greatest theatrical production of the past few months is now over, it has achieved nothing, it will prevent nothing, and ultimately the financial markets will blow up yet again, but not before the Teleprompter in Chief pummels the idiot public with address after address how he singlehandedly was bribed, pardon, achieved a historic event of being the only president to completely crumble under Wall Street's pressure on every item that was supposed to reign in the greatest risktaking generation (with Other People's Money) in history.

We hope, with this farce behind us, Goldman and JPMorgan can resume adding to their hundreds of trillions in IR, FX and other swaps promptly, as always oblivious of the end unwind, and finally blow up the world for good when the $1.5 quadrillion in fake credit money collapses into the gold singularity at the bottom of the Exter pyramid, and it all comes crashing down.

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JGus's picture

Not that any of us are surprised by this!

knukles's picture


This is a Scam wrapped in a Farce, Pretending Progress.
The Original Intent of the Regulation was to Change the Wall Street Business Model such that Events of the Past Several years Could Not Repeat Themselves.
The Wall Street Business Model has Not Been Changed, in spite of Grandiose Platitudes. 
The only New Development has been the Establishment of an Ongoing Source of Campaign Contributions for the Politicians and Increased Barriers to Entry for Business Competition.

And Higher User Fees and Taxes.

Oh.  Pardon.  As well as a Continued Push for Global Financial (Broken System) Integration.
All Hail the Power Elite and Global EU Model.

Wonder Why Gold is Rallying, Contemporaneous with Announcements?   

jkruffin's picture

The fantasy land on Scam Street is already trying to bid bank stocks higher this morning, but one clause I see in the bill that screws banks like JPM, C, and BofA is the 3% cap.  We already know JPM and C are at least near 150% or more,  thats alot of junk to unload somewhere.  BofA probably real close as well being way over cap.

People buying stocks just to buy anything and try to squeeze a dollar.  When they get caught in the next flash crash, which we all know is coming soon, they will yet again learn the hard way.

MichiganMilitiaMan's picture

At least there is still cap-and-trade and immigration reform to look foward to.

cbaba's picture

We already know that system is corrupt to the core, all congress is inside this ponzi scheme, its would be naive to believe that these corrupt politicians will make a change.

Trundle's picture

Is there anyone worse than Chris Dodd?


caconhma's picture

<Is there anyone worse than Chris Dodd?>

The answer is Yes. It is Obama.

peripatetic86's picture

Wake me up when something substantive actually happens.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Depending on the shoes you're wearing , this was very substantive. Dick Bove was quite frank and forthright this morning on CNBC when he said this is actually good for the banks, because they will find some loop holes and the cost will be passed on to "us", and bad for everyone else. I agree.

Surprise. When the banking cabal has demonstrated total effective control over the political class, should we be surprised that substantively the banks did well. Of course, you will hear a great deal of spin how this is bad for banks BUT it could have been worse. Bullshit. Fed has been given more power to feed the cabal and we pay the bills.

Bye Bye Blackbird. Where is our moral courage to take these bastards down? We cry and moan and groan and complain but unless we actually accept responsibility for making the changes needed, we all have limp dicks. This is why we welcome the quicker picker upper, that of Denial and Viagra. Let's stop blaming others and act.

Rick64's picture

Let's stop blaming others and act.


peripatetic86's picture

Exactly.  Nothing has changed except the banks will now have to take a few weeks to figure out how to work around the new "rules and regulations" and keep on keeping on with their implied and explicit mission.  I agree that in fact they now have more power, if that is possible, but the issue is how do we get to Hello Bluebird!!   The question quickly becomes how do we enact positive changes while working within the rubric of our current political system.   Now maybe our current political system fundamentally lacks the potentiality to do anything about our current malaise and then the question quickly becomes how do we effect change in our current system to adopt another system that will redress the absolutely fundamental design flaws that are quickly destroying what was once the best political ideal in the history of man. Citizens with the mind to create and contour such solutions absolutely need to step and take responsibility because in my view that is our only hope.

AccreditedEYE's picture

Of course, you will hear a great deal of spin how this is bad for banks BUT it could have been worse. Bullshit.

Yes sir. I'm going to be sick... I know, stupid me for actually hoping 1 or 2 amendments would have had SOME kind of teeth to them. America!!! Wake the F*CK up!! When "sweeping" regulation passes and the common on these banks is UP in the same day, nothing has changed. And everyone swallows it!!

Where does it end? What do we need to do to blow the lid of this pig? Even government manipulated data is coming in negative and barely a reaction.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"What do we need to do to blow the lid of this pig?"

The seemingly endless supply of denial and false hope held by the middle class....ops.......slave class must be exhausted before they will blow the lid off. We're getting closer. 

Of course, people will act like they have nothing left to lose ONLY when they have nothing left to lose.

hbjork1's picture


I have enjoyed your posts but can't always respond to say so.

I didn't get to watch more than the tail end of the session on C-SpanI last night but happened to catch the hearings during the (IMO) illogical boilerplate rationalization of why the separation of derivative tradings would not work because Europe would not be able to do that and hence there was no point in putting it in the bill.  Barney Frank was rationalizating while Chris Dodd was standing over Blanch Lincoln constantly jawboning her, I assumed to prevent comment.  It was the same spiel that Frank made previously when the draft wording was being readied for a vote. 

I didn't want to watch the painfull final vote.  Lincoln previsions were out, the deal was done.


Sudden Debt's picture

If I'm lucky, I'll be able to sell my CITI's with a nice profit soon :)


Turd Ferguson's picture

The truly sad component is the 99% of Americans that are totally fucking oblivious to what is happening.

Sudden Debt's picture

In the land of fools, the Joker is king!

Boilermaker's picture

Actually, I think 99% is probably optimistic.

mephisto's picture

And the truly sad corollary is that 99% of US politicians come from that 99%.

loki's picture

amen to that.  land of the stupid, ruled by the cunning.

Boilermaker's picture

The blind leading the retarded.  Unreal.

E pluribus unum's picture

If you think Dodd is bad as Chairman, wait until you see his replacement: Tim Johnson makes Barney Frank look honest.

billwilson's picture

AND somehow the banks get to keep gold and silver swaps! If they can't do commodities, equities or credit default swaps, why are they allwoed to keep gold/silver. Lert the manipulations continue!

justbuygold's picture

Yes. They of couse snuck this in at the last second but of course had plans to do this all along.   JP Morgan definitely behind this.  Without it the run on gold would kill them.


"derivatives referencing gold and silver, and the firms would be allowed to hedge 'for the banks' own risk"

John Self's picture

This was a disastrous piece of legislation even before yesterday's capitulations.

The opportunity was to set some metric for establishing how big is too big to fail.  You can be bigger than that, but if you are, then you're subject to a pure interpretation of the Volker Rule.  You want to do prop trading?  Fine, but you have to be small enough that you can fail -- and know that means you won't be bailed out. 

bigdumbnugly's picture

This game of musical chairs seems to have one helluva lot of seats left to pull away i'm afraid.  plus, it seems they are secretly adding new ones to the circle all the time - even if they only have 3 legs.

keep the music playing, maestro.


Commander Cody's picture

Mega QE on the way and it will be risk on with a vengeance.  What's in your wallet?

Sudden Debt's picture

Just some paper pulp, but if I poor some green ink on it and press it into paper I'll be able to sell them as 100$ bills.

Freebird's picture

Gold rising in sympathy to the planet's plight - 1252

Sudden Debt's picture

Time to short it back to 1230 by monday :)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's the humans that have the problem. The planet will survive, oil disaster or not.

Trundle's picture

To wit:

George Carlin with a twist on the second law of thermodynamics:

Freebird's picture

I stand corrected.

Gold rising in sympathy with the humanoids plight - 1256

I need more asshats's picture

Over the objections of Republicans, House and Senate Democratic lawmakers also agreed to charge big banks fees to cover the costs of the bill, including $3 billion in funds to be used to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure. A new financial stability oversight council would impose the fee structure and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. would collect the assessment from the largest financial companies to offset the net deficit effect of the bill.

Get ready to pay higher banking fee. LoL.

Chemba's picture

Right.  And of course, I always look to the Huffington Post for my expert analysis on all matters financial and economic.


I need more asshats's picture

You and Dylan(MSNBC superman, financial crime fighter, savior of the little people).

Clayton Bigsby's picture

Totally agree there Asshats - Dylan "Fuck-Nipple" Ratigan is... well, he's an Asshat

Calculated_Risk's picture

Stole my thunder! LOL

Of all places to pull a quote... I can't stand that sight for more than two seconds before I feel dirty like a rape victim!

tmftdoyle's picture

From the NY Times "Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said legislators were still uncertain how the bill will work until it is in place. “But we believe we’ve done something that has been needed for a long time,” he said."

So we don't know how it will work, but we had to do it. Just absolutely unbelievable.

Trundle's picture

Note that Dodd is from the same state (CT) that brings us Joe Lieberman:

Maybe he should learn how to turn on a computer before he turns off the internet:!


Chemba's picture

Horrors! The banks are still allowed to make trades with their own capital, and they are still allowed to own the equity tranches of private equity and hedge funds!  These activities had nothing to do with the creation and collapse of the credit bubble, but it still makes for effective populist buffoonery.

Instant Karma's picture

Financial Armegeddon? Seems to me the race is on for Wall Street, local, state and the federal government, europe, and japan?

But, I must point out yet again that if you can print your own money and it is accepted you can in fact paper over any problem, at least for while.

Rick64's picture

Foxes in charge of the chicken coop.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) chaired a homeland security, intelligence, information sharing and risk assessment technology subcommittee while holding $1 million in intelligence and homeland security contracting companies,

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) chaired a subcommittee that oversees water quality. At the same time, he owned a $1 million plus stake in Linn Energy, a company that has been cited by federal authorities for alleged water pollution,

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) served on a clean air and nuclear safety subcommittee while holding as much as $65,000 in major nuke player and "Top 100 Corporate Polluter" Duke Energy.

justbuygold's picture

Banks and the FED win once again !!   Barney Frank has to go.  Do America a favor and vote this idiot out !  Do you think anyone fell for that Red Herring that was brought in on limiting proxy voting for the sole purpose of allowing Frank to posture. 

The whole thing has been one big scripted play run by the banks and played out by their puppeteers.


Chemba's picture

The Volvo driving, "Baby on Board" sign posting, Boston Globe reading, Harvard Square shopping set, which is Barney's district, are never going to vote out Barney.  To do so would open them to a charge of "homophobia", which is something they could not shoulder when they are at dinner parties with their Harvard University colleagues

Thinking Bulldog's picture

Get ready for nausea-inducing appearances on the Sunday news shows by Dodd, Frank, and various Obama dog-washers trumpeting how they've finally brought long-awaited protections for hard working middle class Americans and brought the Wall St. bankers to their knees. Perhaps even more tragic--the reporters doing the interviews won't ask one tough question.

disgusted_american's picture

Headlines over at Drudge

CHRIS DODD: ‘No one will know until this is actually in place how it works’…

I guess this is another bill, where "we have to pass it to find out what's in it"

Good God, how much can more chit can they throw on America and Americans.