WASHINGTON The U.S. Chamber of Commerce laid out a series of recommendations Monday detailing how regulators should change the process for labeling nonbank firms as systemically risky.
Ahead of a conference on Wednesday, the business lobbying group addressed a number of deficiencies it identified in the structure of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a 10-member voting panel created under the Dodd-Frank Act and headed by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
"In over three years since FSOC's creation, we believe several fundamental shortcomings in the FSOC's structure and operations have been exposed," according to the five-page report. "In order to make the FSOC a more effective and transparent organization, we believe important changes must be made."
David Hirschman, president and CEO of the Chamber's Center for Capital Market Competiveness group, told reporters in a conference call the recommendations were not meant to delay efforts or water down regulation, but stem from a belief that the current system "will likely not work."
A spokeswoman for the FSOC declined to comment.
Among the changes were recommendations on how to improve data collection by the Office of Financial Research, the data and research arm of the FSOC, as well as changes to how regulators formally name systemically risky firms.
In its report, the chamber criticized a recent study undertaken by the OFR on the potential riskiness of the asset management industry, which oversees roughly $53 trillion in assets.
The group called the Sept. 30 study by the OFR "woefully incomplete and appears to have been developed without the benefit of the best available or sufficient data."
However, it did not specify ways in which the data collection could be improved.
The FSOC requested the report in April 2012 to determine whether firms like BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group, and Fidelity Investments could pose a risk through their activities. But its report has come under fire by those firms who are staunchly opposed to being designated as systemically important by the council.
In the report, the chamber said the OFR had failed to "leverage the existing expertise and data of the primary regulators and industry" and called for congressional oversight over its budget.
The chamber also recommended changing the voting process to designate a firm as a potential risk to the economy. Currently, the FSOC requires a two-thirds vote as well as approval by the Treasury Secretary. But the chamber said that three-quarters of the council should be in favor of taking such a step.
What's more, if the primary regulator responsible for overseeing the company did not vote affirmatively for the designation then a second vote should be held within 45 days, the chamber said. The regulator must also file a report within 30 days explaining why the firm should not be designated.
The chamber also called for further changes to the designation process, such as postponing any final decisions until all rules are in place detailing how the Federal Reserve will regulate such designated firms. The council this year has designated firms, including AIG, GE Capital and Prudential Inc., but has yet to delineate how those firms will be specifically regulated.
Additionally, the lobbying group called for greater refinement on the role between the Fed as supervisor of the nonbank company versus oversight by the primary regulatory.
"We're not talking about excluding the Fed once a firm is designated," said Hirschman, just more clarity on who the primary regulator would be.
Of the proposed changes, Hirschman said the council could decide to make some of them on its own immediately, but could go to Congress for additional guidance on potential legislative changes to the structure and scope of the FSOC.