WASHINGTON Jan 21 U.S. President Barack Obama
is taking account of how America's competitors are pursuing
financial reform as he pushes curbs on the size and trading
activity of U.S. banks, a senior White House aide said on
"I think it's important, as with all regulatory reform,
you've got to be thoughtful, of how this is done in the
international context," Austan Goolsbee, a key economic adviser
to Obama, told Reuters Television.
"We want to do this in coordination with our allies,"
Goolsbee earlier told a White House media briefing.
Finance ministers from Group of Seven major industrialized
nations will have a chance to discuss this issue when they meet
in Canada on Feb. 5 and 6.
Goolsbee noted that Britain was considering a similar
proposal with the aim of avoiding a repeat of the financial
meltdown of 2008-2009. Other European governments have had a
long-standing interest in finding a way to curb what they see
as unwelcome speculative activity by financial firms.
Obama's proposals, which need approval by the U.S.
Congress, would limit banks' ability to become too large and
bar them from taking part in proprietary trading that is not
related to serving their customers. Proprietary trading
involves firms making bets on financial markets with their own
money rather than executing a trade for a client.
Those institutions would also not be allowed to invest in,
own or sponsor hedge funds or private equity funds.
Goolsbee disagreed with those who have said the proposed
rules would put U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage,
noting the rules would also apply to foreign institutions
operating in the United States.
"We've got 8,000-something banks in this country," he said.
"The vast, vast majority of them are competing just fine. They
don't own any hedge funds. They don't own propriety trading.
They don't do any proprietary trading that's not for their
clients," he said.
(Editing by Peter Cooney)