Volker Rule Could Hit Banks' Bottom Line

Story updated with additional comments from SIFMA

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Financial Stability Oversight Council's (FSOC) Volcker Rule recommendations could hit banks' bottom lines and set a precedent for how the council will roll out the rules for other Dodd-Frank Act requirements.

Experts believe that regulators could require banks to spend millions to change the systems that follow how they trade of derivatives, structure securities and even determine bank capital.

"There are other areas that have complex issues, and the study could set a precedent" explained Kevin Petrasic, partner in the banking and financial institutions practice at Paul Hastings. "There are so many different possibilities that regulators could approach with this high degree of accountability."

As part of FSOC's study, investment banks such as Goldman Sachs ( GS) , JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Morgan Stanley ( MS) will be required to provide analysis and an array of metrics on trading activity.

"These tools for CEO certification are certainly here to stay," said Michael Zuppone, a partner at Paul Hastings. "Of course, that did not stop executives at Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns from signing documents and later claiming they did not know about a problematic practice. This recommendation seems to be taking a stance that would hold top executives under more accountability."

The requirements are similar to those seen in the 2002's Sarbanes Oxley Act, which placed a large amount of accountability on the CEO and CFO of along with requirements to track a large amount of financial data. Average compliance costs for Sarbanes Oxley were about $1.7 million per company, according to industry-trade group Financial Executives International.

Some experts, such as Randy Snook, executive vice president of Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, believe that the systems put into place by investment banks for complying with Sarbanes Oxley could be robust enough to provide the data required by regulators under the Volcker Rule.

However, Snook clarified that investment banks would need to invest in new systems because of the rule's unique requirements. "Investment banks will need a distinctly different and likely significant set of systems to comply with the Volcker Rule," Snook explained.

"One of the key things you see in this study that is important is the fact that there is not one definition of what distinguishes prop trading from permitted activity. The markets and products are very distinct, and what works in one area may not work in another. The quantitative tools that are suggested could act as flags that would merit additional investigation," Snook added.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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