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Romney Doesn't Need to Kill Dodd Frank: Street Whispers

NEW YORK (TheStreet)--Mitt Romney has said of the 2010 Dodd Frank financial reform legislation that he will "repeal it and replace it," but recent statements by Democratic legislators and regulators suggest he won't need to expend so much effort.

Many key aspects of Dodd Frank have already been defanged, while other much-needed reforms were already an impossibility even before the ink was dry on the legislation.

One of the critical aspects of Dodd-Frank was the creation of a Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). Comprised of the heads of all the top financial regulators, the FSOC was intended to offer a way around jurisdictional issues and other petty obstacles to important financial reform.

In an editorial last month in The Wall Street Journal, and again at an industry conference on Tuesday, Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Schapiro argued FSOC should take up her quest to reform money market funds in the face of opposition from much of the money management industry. Even though prominent Republican and Democratic regulators, as well as money fund giant BlackRock (BLK) were all in favor of reforms to money market funds that would reduce the likelihood of their needing a bailout, Schapiro was prevented from passing her proposed rule when SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar, a former executive at money manager Invesco (IVZ), cast the deciding vote against it.

There's just one problem with calling on FSOC to resolve this dispute, as Schapiro has proposed: FSOC doesn't work, according to comments last week by Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.).

" It hasn't been this enhanced, you know, kind of, appeals court that I hoped it could be," Warner said at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Warner wasn't talking about money fund reform, but about regulation of swaps--the $700 trillion market that nearly took down the financial system in 2008. Still, both of these reform efforts could use a lot of help from FSOC.

But in order to do its job, FSOC needs the newly-established Office of Financial Research. The OFR would serve as "a kind of quasi-independent backstop to get the data," to support FSOC's reforms, according to Warner.

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