Updated with comment from Goldman spokesperson.
Washington D.C. (
) -- President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law Wednesday, making official the 2,500 page bill that's meant to reshape the U.S. banking system.
The goals of the historic bill are lofty -- prevent another financial crisis, limit systemic risk from individual institutions, institute a slew of protections for consumers -- so it stands to reason that the high-profile signing ceremony would be a hot ticket from Wall Street to the Beltway and everywhere in between.
While many A-listers from the financial and political worlds were in attendance, there were a number of notable absences as well, stoking conversation about the messages being sent along with the invites, or lack there of. Here's a look at who was there and who was square:
Vikram Pandit was the most prominent bank executive at the signing. That's not surprising considering his job, in many ways, still remains dependent on Uncle Sam.
Yes, the Treasury Department is in the process of selling out of its stake in the bank, but Citi still has a ways to go before it's completely free of its largest shareholder.
For his part, Pandit has seemed confident that Citi will be just fine post FinReg. He has already said the bank is prepared to absorb the impact of lost revenue that the changes of the reform bill might bring, and the bank has been
assets in preparation.
In contrast to Pandit, one of the big names not present at the proceedings was Jamie Dimon, the CEO of
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
The Wall Street Journal
said Dimon didn't
, although the company itself declined comment to
Dimon's absence is interesting. He and JPMorgan helped the government during the financial crisis, stepping up to acquire
, but the bank surely had selfish motives as well in doing those deals.
The decision to deal out Dimon, commonly considered one of the most influential people on Wall Street, may relate to his
of some aspects of financial reform, in particular arguing that the government shouldn't try to limit the size of financial institutions.
Both Ben Bernanke, the current Chairman of the
, and Paul Volcker, who served in that role earlier in his career and is now an economic advisor to the president, attended the event. The two were instrumental in creating the sweeping legislation.
It's likely that Bernanke will now go down in history as the Fed Chair to make the most impact on the financial system. Bernanke is expected to report on the state of the economy on Wednesday and Thursday morning before the House Financial Services Panel on Capitol Hill
Volcker's role in financial reform is simple to explain: He's got a rule named after him. The Volcker rule seeks to restrict proprietary trading by the banks and limit their ability to invest in hedge and private equity funds, although its namesake is
with the diluted version that ended up in the final legislation.
Then there's the not-so-curious case of
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s
CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who a company spokesperson confirmed was not invited to the signing.
Blankfein was opposed to many aspects of the financial reform bill even before the bank was hit with civil fraud charges related to its marketing of a synthetic CDO backed subprime mortgages this past Tax Day.
The events of last three months that culminated in last week's $550 million settlement agreement with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
were surely too fresh for both sides to think a smiling photo opportunity made sense.
"We are in favor of the financial reform bill, but it is too early to be definitive on the bill's impact given that much is left up to interpretation," Goldman's Lucas Van Praag told
in a phone interview.
As is fitting for the person who came up with the idea of creating an independent consumer protection agency, Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren was in attendance.
Warren is also one of the top contenders to head up the Consumer Protection Bureau she envisioned but there are rumblings that
in the Obama Administration apparently supports her nomination.
Another notable absence was Edward Yingling, American Bankers Association president and CEO, who was not invited to the event.
Yingling sent out a statement tinged with more than a hint of skepticism about the government's ability to deliver on the promises of the bill.
"Implementation of this legislation will be challenging for regulators," the statement reads. "The result will be over 5,000 pages of new regulations on traditional banks and years of uncertainty as to what the massive new rules will mean. The impact of these rules will be very real and will be felt not only by banks, but by consumers, businesses and the broader economy."
Written by Maria Woehr in New York