President Barack Obama is pledging that major regulatory reform of financial markets will help, not hinder, future economic prosperity. Wall Street may have banks on their mind -- and the Treasury is providing details about stress tests today -- but they're going to want to listen to Obama later, too. An administration official provided a preview of the President's remarks. They're not detailed proposals, but they provide some hints about the direction Obama wants to follow.
Aside from rewriting regulations to account for the proliferation of complex financial instruments, Obama seems to be hinting at a consolidation of sorts. He'll call for "strong and uniform" regulations across different markets. "We must make sure our system of regulations covers appropriate institutions and markets, is comprehensive and free of gaps, and prevents those being regulated from cherry-picking among competing regulators," he plans to say. His priorities include "modernizing and streamlining our regulatory structure and monitoring both the scale and scope of risks institutions can take." Obama will also call for transparency from regulators and accountability for wayward executives. He also challenges foreign governments to meet American standards.
"That is how we will stop financial crises from spilling across borders and prevent global crises of the kind we now face," he plans to say.
Echoing a theme from his presidential campaign, Obama will insist that regulation and an "oppresive, government-run economy" are not incompatible.
"Rather, strong financial markets require clear rules of the road, not to hinder financial institutions, but to protect consumers and investors. Not to stifle, but to advance competition, growth and prosperity. And not just to manage crises - but to prevent crises in the first place by restoring accountability, transparency and trust in our financial markets. These must be the goals of the 21st century regulatory framework we seek to create," he plans to say.