There seem to be a lot of stories lately that assert, without any support, that "Wall Street" is mounting a huge lobbying campaign against the administration's proposed derivatives reform. This WSJ article about JP Morgan "playing hardball" with the administration is in that same vein. It talks about JP Morgan "stepping up its opposition to" the administration's proposed derivatives reform, and claims:

J.P. Morgan is taking issue with portions of the White House's financial plan that deals with the regulation of derivatives. ... The unregulated derivatives market has taken the heat for much of the financial crisis, leading the White House to propose measures aimed at regulating the instruments by funneling trades through exchanges where regulators can monitor them. Such a move could crimp the derivatives industry, eating into the billions of dollars that J.P.Morgan earns each year in helping clients navigate the contracts and assuming counterparty risk in such transactions.
But the administration's plan doesn't propose forcing OTC derivatives onto exchanges. It only proposes moving standardized derivatives onto central clearinghouses, which, the article notes elsewhere, is something JP Morgan supports. The administration's plan has a vague statement about "encouraging" the market to move standardized derivatives onto exchanges OR an electronic execution system for OTC derivatives (not the same thing), but that's a long way from forcing, or even "funneling," derivatives onto exchanges. (The administration has actually taken considerable heat from financial illiterates Congress for only proposing that standardized derivatives, not bespoke derivatives, be centrally cleared.) I think most of this is just journalists wanting to write about "Wall Street" opposing any regulation of derivatives. The reality is that most of Wall Street supports the administration's derivatives proposal.

6 comments:

M said...

In reality the industry has already started moving trades onto a central counterparty using Swapclear, at least interest rate derivatives. This has been going on for a while, though I believe only recently more people have joined and it has become more active. This is only benefitial for the members as they reduce credit exposure (and therefore can do more trades) and settlement risk (and therefore can reduce support areas to save on the cost side).

http://www.lchclearnet.com/membership/ltd/current_membership.asp?search=SWAP

Anonymous said...

is there a real clash between the financial industry and the WH on consumer financial products regulation?

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