Dodd-Frank Defenses and Denials

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Two thousand, eight hundred words.

That's what Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasure Neal Wolin invested in a thorough, carefully crafted response to the Dodd-Frank Act's many, influential and deep-pocketed critics. The defense was presented in an April 19 speech to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“The Dodd-Frank Act creates a comprehensive and robust regulatory framework,” Wolin said. “The statute creates a structure for the government to monitor and respond to systemic risk. It makes clear that no firm will be considered ‘too big to fail.' It requires regulators to impose heightened prudential standards on large, interconnected financial firms. It provides for the comprehensive regulation of the derivatives markets for the first time. And the statute establishes a single agency dedicated to protecting consumers.”

Wolin went on to identify and refute four criticisms of the law and its implementation.

He makes a strong case, particularly when pointing out some of the flawed arguments as to why the implementation is problematic. Yet one also wonders what the defense, at this point, signifies.

A key directive in crisis communications is to avoid denying allegations. As a Colorado boom town newspaper reporter in the early 1990s, I saw how well “denial headlines” played – for the accuser.

For example, when the headline, “Developer Denies Sabotaging Ridgeline Views,” appeared, the entire town knew that the developer's grand construction plans would soon melt away like June snow.

Whether or not the Administration's defense of Dodd-Frank strengthens the hands of Dodd-Frank critics remains to be seen. What seems clear right now, however, is that Dodd-Frank's critics forced this defensive response.

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GRC expert Eric Krell supplies the Business Finance community in-depth articles and commentary examining governance, risk, and compliance.

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