The Federal Reserve has 50 new rules to write, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has 44 new rules to write. The Securities and Exchange Commission has 100 rules and 20 studies on its plate. And Treasury has two new agencies and an oversight council to set up.
A panel of top U.S. financial regulators updated a Senate Banking panel Thursday on the progress their agencies have made attacking a long to-do list to enact new laws ushered in with Wall Street reforms, at a hearing on the Dodd-Frank Act.
"The Dodd-Frank Act is an important step forward for financial regulation in the United States, and it is essential that the act be carried out expeditiously and effectively," said Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke at the hearing.
Bernanke explained that the Fed was ensuring that their rule-making is transparent and that they are posting on a website all correspondence on rules. He also talked about the Fed's advisory role helping the Treasury set up various panels and agencies -- for example, as the Fed hands over its consumer regulatory duties to the new consumer financial protection bureau.
"The Federal Reserve will work closely with our fellow regulators, the Congress, and the Administration to ensure that the law is implemented in a manner that best protects the stability of our financial system and strengthens the U.S. economy."
Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin explained that Treasury had created a bunch of different teams, each with a different task, ranging from setting up the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, a panel of regulators in charge of keeping an eye out for risk in the financial system, to launching the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is charged with regulating financial products like mortgages and credit cards.
"Implementing the Dodd-Frank Act is a complex undertaking," Wolin said.
0:00 /4:03Risks of financial reform
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chair Sheila Bair said that her agency is working on releasing a draft of new rules about the new liquidation process for large complex financial firms. The FDIC was expected to release those new rules earlier this week, but delayed the release for further review, the FDIC's board said Monday.
"We are well on our way to putting this badly needed Dodd-Frank Act into effect," Bair said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is one of the few financial regulators that has gone beyond fact-finding and actually implemented a rule required by the Wall Street reform. The SEC's new rule allows shareholders who own 3% of company stock for at least three years to nominate candidates for director on the annual proxy ballot, which gets sent to shareholders for a vote.
That rule has also been challenged, in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.
Gold prices surged to new record highs on Thursday, continuing a rally started earlier in the week.
Gold futures for December delivery rose $5.10 to close at a record high of $1,273.80 an ounce in New York. That topped the previous all-time high closing price of $1,271.70, which came on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, contracts were trading even higher, at $1,279.50 an ounce.
Typically seen as a safe haven, gold is the ultimate currency for many investors. It involves the lowest risk because it is a tangible asset, and shows the highest upward price potential during times of stock and currency volatility.
Uncertain financial markets, weak economic conditions and the stressful political conditions of the mid-term elections are the main causes for rising prices, said Carlos Sanchez, a precious metals analyst with CPM Group.
And today's record might just be the beginning, with no sign of any of these worries easing up. Sanchez said gold prices will likely keep rising through the first quarter of next year. "The next level is $1,300 -- possibly by the end of this month. And I would not be surprised if it heads up to $1,400 by the end of this year."
Additionally, with the flood of U.S. dollars in the market and serious concerns over European countries' ability to back up debt obligations -- not only investors, but countries such as China, Russia and Egypt are buying gold.
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