Financial Reform Watch

Published — October 1, 2010 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Live from the cash room: Your risk regulators in action

Introduction

The Financial Stability Oversight Council – the new panel that is supposed to spot any early signs of systemic risks in U.S. markets – makes its debut this afternoon.

The council’s first meeting starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and will be webcast here from the Treasury Department’s aptly-named “Cash Room.”

The group’s agenda includes how to determine which nonbank financial companies are considered systematically important, and how to move forward on the Volcker rule to limit banks from risky investments for their own portfolios.

Many of the council members are top banking and financial regulators, who don’t have a track record of working smoothly and collaboratively together. Several testified at a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday, where lawmakers quizzed them about the inter-personal dynamics of the council.

“At this point I don’t see any deep conflicts or differences in point of view that threaten the implementation of this act,” Fed chief Ben Bernanke told the Senate panel. “There is some pressure because there is so much to do so quickly.”

Sheila Bair, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. who has tangled with two Treasury secretaries and other top regulators during the past three years, gave senators a more measured response: “It’s a dangerous dynamic if one or two players try to drive everything, and I don’t think that will happen… There will be differences and we will need to overcome them.”

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