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From the House, a Request To Delay the Volcker Rule

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Another day, another reality check on the deadlines for implementing financial regulatory reforms.

Less than three weeks after U.S. regulators said they would delay the Jan. 1 start date for new capital requirements under Basel III, financial agency heads were being urged by the outgoing and incoming chairmen of the House Financial Services Committee to postpone the effective date on the Volcker rule until 2015.

It's unclear when the Volcker rule, the anti-proprietary trading regulation named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, will be finalized. A proposal issued last year was widely derided as too complicated; it has garnered more than 18,000 public comments.

Regulators already have blown past the July 2012 completion date for rulemaking mandated under Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Now, outgoing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R.-Ala., and Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican selected to replace him, are requesting that once a final version of the rule gets promulgated, regulators hold off two years before putting it into effect.

In a letter sent to agency chiefs in late November, Bachus and Hensarling also asked for a cost-benefit test on the rule, and recommended that the regulators issue just one version of their analysis.

"Market participants deserve to know whether the Volcker Rule will in fact make the financial system safer and they deserve to know at what cost. Perhaps more important, Congress should have the benefit of that analysis in considering whether Section 619 should be amended or repealed," the Congressmen wrote.

The letter was addressed to the heads of the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Regulators had said they planned to issue a final rule on Volcker by the end of 2012, but at press time that time frame looked highly unlikely. So if they were to delay compliance requirements by two years as Bachus and Hensarling requested, that would push the effective date on the rule out to 2015 at the earliest.

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