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Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) Contact: Kirstin ... - page 3 / 11

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ADDRESSING SYSTEMIC RISKS: THE AGENCY FOR FINANCIAL STABILITY

One financial institution should never be capable of bringing down the entire American economy. The newly created Agency for Financial Stability is an independent agency responsible for identifying, monitoring and addressing systemic risks posed by large, complex companies as well as products and activities that can spread risk across firms. It will discourage companies from getting too large by imposing burdens on them as they grow and give regulators the authority to break up large, complex companies if they pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.

Why Change is Needed: The economic crisis introduced a new term to our national vocabulary systemic risk.

In July, Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, testified that “Financial institutions are systemically important if the failure of the firm to meet its obligations to creditors and customers would have significant adverse consequences for the financial system and the broader economy.”

In short, in an interconnected global economy, it’s easy for some people’s problems to become everybody’s problems. The failures that brought down giant financial institutions last year also devastated the economic security of millions of Americans who did nothing wrong their jobs, homes, retirement security, gone overnight because of Wall Street greed and regulatory failures.

The Agency for Financial Stability

  • Strong and Independent: Governed by an independent chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, to provide insulation from political manipulation. The board will have 9 members including the federal financial regulators and two independent members. The board members' diverse areas of expertise will strengthen the board’s ability to identify and respond to emerging risks throughout the financial system.

  • Tough to Get Too Big: Writes increasingly strict rules for capital, leverage, liquidity, risk management and other requirements as companies grow in size and complexity, imposing significant costs on companies that pose risks to the financial system.

  • Break Up Large, Complex Companies: Gives the regulators the authority to break up large, complex companies if they pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.

  • Close Gaps in Regulation: Identifies unregulated financial companies that pose systemic risk and assigns them to a federal regulator for supervision.

  • Lean and Mean: Expected to be staffed with a highly sophisticated staff of economists, accountants, lawyers, former supervisors, and other specialists. With just rule writing authority and no direct supervision, the agency can remain small but effective.

  • Make Risks Transparent: Collects and analyzes data to identify and monitor emerging risks to the economy and make this information public in periodic reports and testimony to Congress twice a year.

  • Oversight of Important Market Utilities: The Agency for Financial Stability will identify systemically important clearing, payments, and settlements systems to be regulated by the Federal Reserve.

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