Dodd-Frank Act Regulations:

Implementation Could Benefit from Additional Analyses and Coordination

GAO-12-151: Published: Nov 10, 2011. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2011.

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The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) requires or authorizes various federal financial regulators to issue hundreds of rules to implement reforms intended to strengthen the financial services industry. GAO is required to annually study financial services regulations. This report examines (1) the regulatory analyses, including cost-benefit analyses, financial regulators have performed to assess the impact of selected final rules issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act; (2) how financial regulators consulted with each other in implementing the selected final rules to avoid duplication or conflicts; and (3) what is known about the impact of the final rules. GAO examined the 32 final Dodd-Frank Act rules in effect as of July 21, 2011; the regulatory analyses conducted for 10 of the 32 rules that allowed for some level of agency discretion; statutes and executive orders requiring agencies to perform regulatory analysis; and studies on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act. GAO also interviewed regulators, academics, and industry representatives..

Federal financial regulators are required to conduct a variety of regulatory analyses, but the requirements vary and none of the regulators are required to conduct benefit-cost analysis. All financial regulators must analyze the paperwork burden imposed by their rules and consider the impact of their rules on small entities as part of their rulemaking process. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also required under their authorizing statutes to consider certain benefits and costs of their rules. As independent regulatory agencies, the federal financial regulators are not subject to executive orders requiring federal agencies to conduct detailed benefit-cost analysis in accordance with a guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Financial regulators are not required to follow OMB's guidance, but most told GAO that they attempt to follow the guidance in principle or spirit. GAO's review of regulators' rulemaking policies and 10 final rules found inconsistencies in the extent to which OMB's guidance was reflected. GAO recommends that to the extent the regulators strive to follow OMB's guidance, they should take steps to more fully incorporate the guidance into their rulemaking policies and ensure that it is consistently followed. Although federal financial regulators have coordinated their rulemaking, they generally lacked formal policies to guide these efforts. The Dodd-Frank Act establishes interagency coordination requirements for certain agencies and for specific rules or subject matters. However, for other rules, the regulators have discretion as to whether interagency coordination should occur. The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) is tasked with facilitating coordination among member agencies but, to date, has played a limited role in doing so beyond its own rulemakings as it continues to define its role. Several regulators voluntarily coordinated with each other on some of the rules GAO reviewed. However, most of the regulators, including the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, lacked written protocols for interagency coordination, a leading practice that GAO has previously identified for interagency coordination. GAO recommends that FSOC work with the financial regulators to develop such protocols for Dodd-Frank Act rulemaking. Little is known about the actual impact of the final Dodd-Frank Act rules, given the short amount of time the rules have been in effect. Regulators are required to conduct reviews of existing regulations to assess their impact, but some have not yet developed plans to review their Dodd-Frank Act rules. To maximize the usefulness of these reviews, GAO recommends that the regulators identify what data will be needed to retrospectively assess the impact of the rules in the future. FSOC is also required to examine, among other things, financial market and regulatory developments and make recommendations to enhance the efficiency, competitiveness, and stability of U.S. financial markets. Although FSOC officials said that FSOC plans to include an impact analysis of the Dodd-Frank Act rules in its future reports, it has not yet begun identifying and collecting the data needed for this type of analysis. GAO recommends that FSOC direct the Office of Financial Research, an entity created to support the research needs of FSOC, to work with the regulators to identify and begin collecting data needed for future analyses. GAO is making four recommendations to the regulators and FSOC to strengthen the prospective and retrospective analyses of the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations on financial markets and improve coordination among financial regulators on rulemaking. Regulators and FSOC generally agreed with the report's findings but most neither agreed nor disagreed with the report's recommendations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

  2. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  3. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: National Credit Union Administration

  4. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  5. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: United States Securities and Exchange Commission

  6. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

  7. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  8. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  9. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: United States Securities and Exchange Commission

  10. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: National Credit Union Administration

  11. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities, the FSOC should direct the Office of Financial Research to work with its members to identify and collect the data necessary to assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations on, among other things, the stability, efficiency, and competitiveness of the U.S. financial markets.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council

  12. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: Federal Reserve System

  13. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

  14. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities, the FSOC should direct the Office of Financial Research to work with its members to identify and collect the data necessary to assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations on, among other things, the stability, efficiency, and competitiveness of the U.S. financial markets.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council: Office of Financial Research

  15. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: National Credit Union Administration

  16. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  17. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: United States Securities and Exchange Commission

  18. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

  19. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

  20. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  21. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: Federal Reserve System

  22. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council

  23. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency Affected: Federal Reserve System

  24. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency Affected: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

 

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