Although the Wall Street Reform Bill has just been signed, the real battle over reform of the financial sector has only begun. In order to implement the sweeping changes outlined in the new statute, agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will be drafting more than 200 rules affecting nearly every area of the financial sector. It is these rules that will determine how the new legislation actually affects Americans.
Knowledgeable of this fact, companies intent on softening the coming blow have hired hundreds of lobbyists in an attempt to influence the final rules. Many of the lobbyists are themselves former regulators, who not only have long experience navigating Washington bureaucracies, but also know the pressure points and weaknesses of current regulators. As early as 2008, when the financial crisis was still new, lobbying firms anticipating reform began to prepare by interviewing former regulators.
Investors who want their voices to be heard have the opportunity to participate in this process. The S.E.C. is seeking public comments on numerous regulatory topics related to the new legislation. Such topics include regulation of advisers to hedge funds, Wall Street transparency and accountability, and improvements to the regulation of securities.