'Systemically Significant' Financial Firms Face Steep Compliance Costs

Lora Bentley

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 may be brand new, but financial services instituions are already in the thick of trying to "get their arms around" the compliance requirements it includes, as well as what they might cost.


Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Brauneis, a financial services industry risk and compliance practice director at Protiviti, about the looming compliance burden and what companies are doing to prepare.


The capital markets and derivatives segments of the industry will be most significantly impacted, Brauneis said, because their business models are being "turned on [their] head." He explained:

Derivatives trading is moving to exchanges, or at least through clearinghouses. That's a lot of new technology to facilitate the daily trading operations. On top of that, the segment is facing a significant increase in reporting requirements.They're going from nothing, historically, to a quite onerous reporting regime.


That said, though, all of the financial services industry will likely need new technology or technology upgrades to maintain compliance with segment-specific requirements in the new law, whether they're mortgages lenders, banks or other institutions.


Brauneis also noted that, particularly for those banking institutions that are large enough to be subject to the systemic risk oversight council, compliance costs will easily reach hundreds of millions of dollars each. And that doesn't include the separate costs of lost business opportunities resulting from "having to cut back on proprietary trading," for instance.

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