A helping hand amidst regulatory overload

Perhaps more than any other field of human activity, finance has a love of intricacy and jargon that can render the uninitiated dazed and confused.

But with waves of regulatory reform flooding every layer of the market, even the experts could be left struggling to keep up. Just consider this inexhaustive list of regulation from both sides of the Atlantic:

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the European market infrastructure regulation (EMIR), the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Market Abuse Directive II, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision accord, and the proposed financial transaction tax in Europe.

Not that complicated? Then add national legislation to the mix, including Germany’s High Frequency Trading Act or the UK’s Banking Reform Bill or the transaction taxes recently introduced in Italy and France. Consider the list of bodies looking after each piece of regulation, try to remember at what stage each of the new rules is in the regulatory process – and yes, things begin to get a bit fuzzy. Particularly, when the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been drip-feeding new rules for swap trades under Dodd-Frank for the past two years (and, no, we haven’t forgotten the Volcker rule).

So where can you get some clarity, without spending hours on Google navigating through the clutter?

Law firm David Polk is a good place to go to. The firm hosts online tools, including the helpful Regulatory Tracker, to help market participants breakdown the waves of information about Dodd-Frank.

The latest Tracker update reported that a total of 279 Dodd-Frank rulemaking requirement deadlines had passed. Of those, 175 had been missed and 104 had been met with finalised rules.

It also provided new information from the CFTC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, including press releases and speeches.

Technology vendor Fidessa recently launched website, ‘Regulation Matters’, to offer a forum for views and commentary on what’s going on in the regulatory space. A team of Fidessa staff writes about topics from German HFT laws to the Dodd-Frank to EMIR. It also presents a handy graphic that shows which stage of implementation each piece of regulation is at.

LinkedIn is also a great resource if you want to talk about regulation, with several groups to choose from, including the suitably named Financial Services Regulation group. More than 100,000 members have joined since it was launched by consultancy firm Treasury Strategies in 2009.

Lively discussions include describing the financial regulation in three words or less. “Avert great depression”, “regulators lack spine”, “too much work”, “ethical bank aid”, and “to be defined” were some of the suggestions. For more serious discourse, the group also has a forum on what the most significant financial regulatory issues of 2013 would be, for example. Responses included capital requirements in the market, dark pools and bank consolidation.