Source: ZE

Source: ZE

For many, five years seems like a long time. But for those who saw their entire life savings being wiped out as part of the trillions of dollars that were lost during the global financial crisis, 2008 will forever remain fresh in their minds.

Many of us have never experienced a financial crisis, much less something of the magnitude that occurred in 2008. It not only changed people’s perspective and behaviors but it also increased an awareness of how regulators, institutions, and consumers should interact to avoid the mistakes from the past.

And, while some countries were affected more than others (the strong financial system in Canada survived the scare and became a model everyone wanted to duplicate), others are still on a rollercoaster ride to recovery.

What is Dodd-Frank? 

President Barak Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act in July 2010. Also called the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” it is the most comprehensive set of regulations aimed at implementing controls, increasing transparency, setting checks and balances, and avoiding the pitfalls and mistakes from 2008.

The Act is comprised of 16 Titles, involves the coordination between 22 Government Agencies (the most affected are the Commodities Futures Trading Commission impacted by 136 regulations and the Securities and Exchange Commission by 247, respectively). The Act includes 15 topics, 445 comment dates, 112 effective dates, 25 compliance dates, and as many as 206 were awaiting steps in the implementation of the different regulations. A massive undertaking to close loopholes, streamline accountability and transparency, and avoid the same situation where some institutions are just “too big to fail.”

The most relevant to our industry are probably Title IV dealing with the “Regulation of Advisers to Hedge Funds and Others”, Title VII concerning “Wall Street Transparency and Accountability,” and Title VIII dealing with “Payments, Clearing and Settlement Supervision” for OTC and listed derivatives.  Part of this legislation is also the “Volcker Rule” named after the former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman. The main goal of the “Volcker Rule” is to stop banks from trading with their own funds, which increases the likelihood of losses by taking more risks.

What’s With the Delay?

Next month, it will be the third anniversary of the Act. So the question is, why is it taking so long?

Many factors have accounted for this delay: coordination efforts, discussions to incorporate points of view of the parties affected by the Act, timely deployment of resources within organizations to comply with new requirements, interpretations discussions, and more.

As we inch closer to its full application, the push for transparency, data collection, and real-time information on the trades presents some added challenges in terms of compliance. However record keeping and the reporting of data for OTC transactions, are set to be necessary requirements going forward.

How We can help

Thanks to our extensive experience in ETLP (Extracting, Transforming, Loading, and Publishing) in the Energy and Commodity markets, among others, the company I work with – ZE PowerGroup Inc. – has put the infrastructure in place to support these types of requirements. Our home grown product suite, ZEMA, is best suited for Dodd-Frank reporting requirements, and we have successfully integrated different client systems with various ETRM/CTRM systems.

During a recent webinar, we presented a test case for reporting and disclosure of transactions. We showcased ZEMA’s ability to handle reporting of trades with one of the leading SDR – the Intercontinental Exchange. Get in touch with us at contact@ze.com, and we will be delighted to give you a demonstration of the ZEMA Suite capabilities.

Dodd-Frank has certainly set the stage to ensure that our collective memory does not forget and that accountability and transparency are the tools for investor and consumer protection. All in all, it helps us to avoid going back to a point in time that many of us would never want to experience again.