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Republican Calls for Dodd-Frank Changes Won't Rattle Investors

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- House Republicans' condemnation on Monday of the Dodd-Frank Act, on the occasion of its fourth anniversary, may not effect investors' choices about where to put their money, said industry observers.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Texas), spent part of the day slamming Dodd-Frank for failing to end government coddling of financial institutions known euphemistically as 'too-big-to-fail banks.' Hensarling called on his party'es leadership to to end such pussyfooting "once and for all."


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While Hensarling no doubt won applause from constituents back in his district southeast of Dallas, the congressman's complaints are more likely a political move to attract attention to ongoing grievances by opponents of the sweeping reforms.

Ernie Patrikis, former AIG (AIG) general counsel and former vice president and general counsel for the New York Fed, pointed out one of those objections in an interview, calling Dodd-Frank reforms four years later a case of the "good, the bad and the ugly." 

"I think the [Federal Reserve] had the inherent authority to do a lot of what is in Dodd-Frank -- the Fed using its powers to do all of the regulatory issues related to capital, liquidity, leverage, etc.," Patrikis, partner at White & Case Banking, said.

Republicans often roll out critiques to reform the Dodd-Frank act, making Monday's report a familiar refrain. In November, the GOP said it would lobby for relaxed regulations of private equity fund investment advisers, and in February the House passed legislation that would have replaced the single regulator with a five-member board. But that's as far as efforts to gut Dodd-Frank have reached.

Dodd-Frank was created in response to the 2008 financial crisis that nearly collapsed the country's financial system, and by extension, much of the globe. Among the agencies created by the legislation, which passed both houses of Congress, was the Orderly Liquidation Authority, which executes the liquidation of large firms forced into bankruptcy rather than forcing the government to save them or become an intermediary as in the case of Bear Stearns and Wachovia

Democrats were out in force on Monday praising the Wall Street reform.

“Four years later, it’s time for financial regulators to finalize important rules reining in Wall Street excesses and for Congress to pass additional reforms like those included in my bipartisan legislation with Sen. David Vitter," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), said in a statement, referring to bipartisan legislation he proposed last year with Vitter. "Our bill would require Wall Street megabanks to have enough capital to cover their losses – so taxpayers don’t have to."

Though Republicans charged that the U.S. would be better without Dodd-Frank and Democrats argue the opposite, chunks of the law have yet to be finalized as lawmakers grapple over the complexities of a financial sector that is still attempting to emerge from the shadows of the Great Recession.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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