Federal regulators have missed 80% of their deadlines for implementing the sweeping Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, according to a recent report by the law firm Davis Polk. Of the 163 rules that the government was required to write by July 21, 130 remain unfinished.
The law has come under fire in recent months for leaving so much work and such broad authority in the hands of regulators, thereby helping to cause the logjam.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission, which has the broadest mandate under the Dodd-Frank act to do things like regulate derivatives trading for the first time, already has missed 54 deadlines.
Regulators also have failed to publish seven studies, including one on foreclosures and another on short selling.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who co-authored the legislation, has been firing back against critics of the law. In an interview with Ben Protess of The New York Times, Frank said that setting more specific rules would have given Wall Street companies more opportunities to find ways around them, and would have made it more difficult to adjust the rules as financial conditions change.
“You have to have more general sets of rules,” Frank said. “It’s precisely because we knew we couldn’t get everything right that we did leave room for the regulators.”
Meanwhile, Dodd-Frank remains so important, and the delays are causing so much uncertainty, that Davis Polk has decided to make its tracking of the law permanent. The firm has launched an interactive timeline charting out regulatory progress on all the different rules.
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Image: Erik Fitzpatrick, via Flickr