WASHINGTON — In addition to those actually implementing the Dodd-Frank Act, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair announced a new group Wednesday of former regulators, lawmakers and other heavy-hitters in the policy world designed to keep tabs on regulatory reform.
The Systemic Risk Council, which will be chaired by Bair, will assess the progress of regulators carrying out major reforms and provide constructive criticism where needed on pending rules.
"We don't plan to dot every 'i' and cross every 't' on the regulations. There is probably already enough of that," Bair, now senior advisor to The Pew Charitable Trusts, said in an interview. "We're going to try to provide broader perspective and context about the priority areas and where regulators need to focus and get things done."
The group was formed by Pew and the CFA Institute, an association that sets standards for investment professionals, although the council will be independent from both organizations. Other members of the council include former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Brooksley Born and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve Board Chairman, will be a senior advisor.
The council provides an arena for "more independent voices weighing into the public policy debate — people with gravitas, public trust and credibility — to help clarify the debate and help move financial reform in a direction that will help stabilize the system," Bair said.
The council will provide more details about its work on June 18.
Bair and CFA Institute chief John Rogers, who sits on the council, said the impetus behind forming the group was a common concern that the implementation of Dodd-Frank is not moving forward quickly enough.
"Despite the magnitude of the financial crisis, prospects for major reform of regulatory systems are inadequate and vague," Rogers said in a press release. "This council will serve as an essential sounding board for systemic risk reforms focused on strong investor protection, and offer a critical voice to promote the enforcement of regulations, financial disclosure and transparency."
Bair said both Pew and the CFA Institute had "shared concerns … about the pace of financial reform, the uncertainty over pending rulemakings that have not been finalized and the direction the regulators might go" in the final rules. Yet, she added, the council does not intend to "second-guess" the regulators.
"Our purpose will be to monitor and provide public commentary," she said. "Where appropriate, we will offer support, and constructive suggestions for different directions when we don't think reform is going in the right direction."
Hagel, now a professor at Georgetown University, said the rules implementing reform need to be made clear sooner rather than later.
"The markets need some consistency. They need some confidence. They need to have some assurance that the rules aren't going to continually be changed or they're not finalized. That inhibits investment and future planning for companies," he said in an interview. "The longer you don't have these rules to deal with a very complicated global market, the more damage it does to growth, investment and productivity."
Other members of the council include former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.; former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson; Columbia University Law Professor Harvey Goldschmid; Jeremy Grantham, co-founder & chief investment strategist at Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo; University of Pennsylvania finance professor Richard Herring; Simon Johnson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management; Hugh F. Johnston, executive vice president and chief financial officer at PepsiCo; Ira Millstein, a professor and senior partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Maureen O'Hara from the Cornell University Johnson School of Management; John Reed, former chairman and chief executive officer of Citicorp and Citibank; and former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo.