By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON Dec 5 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission's voting on whether to adopt the Volcker
rule to ban proprietary trading by banks, will likely be done
behind closed doors rather than in a public meeting, SEC Chair
Mary Jo White said on Thursday.
Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of an event at SEC
headquarters, White said she expects to carry out the vote
behind closed doors in a process known as "seriatim."
Many of the other regulators working on the rule with the
SEC, by contrast, plan to vote on the Volcker rule in open
public forums on Dec. 10.
People familiar with the matter previously told Reuters the
SEC has been grappling with scheduling problems, as two SEC
commissioners will be traveling next week.
Republican Commissioner Michael Piwowar is due to give a
speech in London on Monday at a conference being held by the
Investment Company Institute, a major mutual fund trade group.
The SEC's other Republican member, Daniel Gallagher, will be
traveling next week throughout Germany and other parts of Europe
The SEC had given thought to holding a public meeting on
Dec. 18, two people previously told Reuters.
But earlier this week, White told reporters she was hoping
to vote on the rule on or about the same time as the other
Those regulators are the Federal Reserve, the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
"In order to essentially coordinate with the other
regulators timing wise... and to make sure all of our
commissioners have an opportunity to vote and comment on the
rule, I think we are going to proceed seriatim," White said in
response to a question from Reuters on Thursday.
The SEC is not legally required to hold a public meeting to
vote on rules, nor is it required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall
Street reform law to vote at the same time as the four other
regulators working on the rule.
Both the SEC and CFTC are also not technically required to
adopt the same version of the Volcker rule as the banking
regulators, though all of the regulators are striving for
uniformity in both the content and timing of the voting.
Still, the decision not to seek a public hearing and debate
on the final version of the Volcker rule could irk the industry
and proponents of the rule who have been tracking its progress
for two years.
It has become customary practice for the SEC and other
regulators, particularly in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial
crisis, to conduct public votes on rules that are highly
controversial or critical to the markets.
The Volcker rule has proven to be among the most contentious
provisions in the Dodd-Frank law.
Not only have banks staunchly opposed the Volcker rule, but
there has also been a great deal of haggling among the five
regulators over how strict it should be and where they should
draw the line between legitimate market-making activities versus
This has been a particularly delicate issue for the SEC, the
regulator with the most experience in the area of overseeing