WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. financial regulators have formed a working group to coordinate implementation of the Volcker rule, which bans banks from proprietary trading, top regulatory officials plan to tell lawmakers on Wednesday.
The group has already met to discuss industry questions about the controversial rule and plans to meet again later this week, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White said in remarks prepared for delivery during a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
“Such collaboration should carry forward not just in implementing the rule, but also in coordinating the compliance and enforcement of the rule,” White said in the remarks, which were obtained by Reuters.
The Volcker rule, named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, prohibits banks from making speculative bets with their own money and limits their investments in certain funds. It was required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law.
Regulators finalized the long and complex rule in December 2013, and the financial services industry has since been combing through the details in order to get up to speed before a July 2015 compliance deadline.
Officials from the five agencies behind the rule - the SEC, the Fed, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) - are scheduled to testify before the financial services panel on Wednesday.
Shortly after the five agencies approved the final wording, community banks uncovered an aspect of the rule they said would have forced them to dump some investments backed by trust-preferred securities. In January, they convinced regulators to tweak the rules related to those funds.
Other complicated questions are bound to arise as industry lawyers parse the about 900-page rule. Bank groups also want to know how the agencies will handle enforcement in their sometimes overlapping jurisdictions.
In prepared remarks for Wednesday’s hearing, officials said the new joint working group would coordinate to enforce the rule and to answer any questions that arise from the industry.
“The CFTC is exploring now whether to take additional steps, including whether to adopt formal procedures for enforcement of the rule,” Mark Wetjen, acting CFTC chairman, plans to say. The SEC is already considering new rules to spell out its enforcement powers under the Volcker rule.
Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry plans to say his agency is training examiners to check whether banks are making the changes to comply with the rules in time.
“We will build upon these initial procedures and training through the course of the conformance period as we further assess the progress and needs of our examiners,” Curry said in prepared remarks. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson, additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Douwe Miedema; Editing by Alden Bentley)