Dodd-Frank Act, Aka The 2010 Full Employment Act For Lawyers, Accountants, And Consultants

Mark Perry
updated | Author's Website

NEW YORK TIMES — “Call it Dodd-Frank Inc. A year after Congress passed the broadest financial overhaul since the Great Depression, the law has spawned a host of new businesses to help Wall Street comply — and capitalize — on the hundreds of new regulations. Besides the lawyers, there are legions of corporate accountants, financial consultants, risk management advisers, turnaround artists and technology vendors all vying for their cut.”
“It is a full-employment act,” said Gregory J. Lyons, a partner at Debevoise, where a team of a half-dozen lawyers has drafted 30-plus comment letters in the last six months. “The law is passed, but we are still reasonably early in the process,” Mr. Lyons said. “There is still a lot to be written.” 

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 became a boon for the Big Four accounting firms as public corporations were forced to tighten compliance in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Now, the Dodd-Frank Act is quickly becoming such a gold mine that even Wall Street bankers, never ones to undercharge, are complaining that the costs are running amok. 

 
No one yet is tracking all the money being spent to deal with Dodd-Frank (which in itself could be an entrepreneurial venture), but a back-of-the-envelope calculation puts it in the billions of dollars (see chart below).”

MP: The top chart above compares the number of pages in the Dodd-Frank Act to the page count for previous financial legislation.  One study estimated the compliance cost of the 66-page Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to be as high as $1.4 trillion.  If “size matters” for financial regulation, i.e. the number of pages translates into compliance cost, watch out: Dodd-Frank is almost 13 times bigger than SOX.   
HT: Dan Greller

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