Wednesday, June 17, 2009
When Windmills Tilt Back
President Obama unveiled his regulatory reforms this afternoon, none of which were really surprising. The Fed will have greater oversight of the existing regulators, which will mainly remain intact apart from the Office of Thrift Supervision (which clearly was useless in the run-up to the credit crisis). It will also oversee the larger 'too big to fail' companies which includes a couple of insurance giants. It is absurd that most insurance companies will remain under the supervision of their home states. These firms are some of the largest speculators in financial markets and there is no chance that a state-based agency can spot problems or irregularities. The President said this morning on CNBC that he didn't want to go 'tilting at windmills' by consolidating the existing agencies. Hopefully the new regulations go far enough and are policed carefully enough by the hodge-podge of regulators. The windmills to watch out for are the banks. They have enough firepower with Congress to hamstring anything they don't agree with - like enhanced capital requirements. S&P already downgraded a bunch of them. Expect to see banks tilting back.