Definition of Dodd-Frank Act

In 2010, the US Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the largest financial regulation overhaul since the 1930s.

Named after its Democratic sponsors in Congress, Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Barney Frank, the law aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

The 2000-page act included sweeping new rules for banks, hedge funds and complex financial transactions called derivatives.

The act also created a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect retail users of banking products and a new Financial Stability Oversight Council to watch for looming threats to the financial system.

US regulators are in the process of churning out hundreds of new rules that cover everything from limiting proprietary trading (taking bets with a bank’s own money rather than for clients) to regulating swaps dealers.

US president Barack Obama, who signed the act into law, said: “The American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” but many in the financial services sector say the law and accompanying regulations are confusing, expensive and in some cases unworkable. [1]

The Dodd-Frank initiative is one of a number of transparency initiatives (see also Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative, EU Accounting and Transparency Directive and CRD IV). Dodd-Frank will require companies active in the extractives industry that file annual reports with the US Securities Exchange Commission to report all payments made to governments. Revised proposed rules were issued by the Securities Exchange Commission in December 2015 and a vote to approve the final rules is expected in June 2016. [2]

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