Treasury Chief Paulson Vows Review of U.S. Financial Services Regulation

By | June 28, 2007

The Bush administration plans to review the U.S. government’s regulatory system for financial institutions with the goal of making changes to better reflect modern markets.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the review, which will be conducted by officials at his department, will examine the system for all companies that provide financial services. The blueprint for recommended changes will be released early next year, he said.

“To maintain our capital markets’ leadership, we need a modern regulatory structure complemented by market leaders embracing best practices,” Paulson said in a statement announcing the review. “The steps we are announcing today will help to strengthen our global competitiveness.”

Paulson did not spell out any proposed changes but other officials said that Treasury would look into consolidating overlapping regulatory functions. Previously, the Clinton administration considered merging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Paulson, the head of investment giant Goldman Sachs before taking the Treasury post a year ago, said in a speech last November that he planned an extensive review of the regulations governing America’s financial markets to make sure they were not harming the country’s ability to compete in the global economy.

He held a conference on capital markets in March where billionaire investor Warren Buffett, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and other titans of U.S. finance got together to discuss whether an overregulated financial system is putting the country at a disadvantage in attracting foreign investment.

Paulson said this week that the regulatory review now being conducted was part of a second stage of his capital markets competitiveness plan. The goal will be to recommend changes that will improve oversight, increase efficiency, reduce overlap and support the ability of regulators to adapt to constantly changing investment strategies.

He said he would also encourage the development of best practices for asset managers and investors in hedge funds and work to modernize the Treasury Department’s management of the government’s finances and borrowing procedures.


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