I came across a blog article recently that posed a thought provoking and potentially frightening question, “How long will Wall Street stay in America?” Being that the Wall Street business is the business we are in, as well as our clients, I thought it was something I should read. According to the author, Robert Reich, a number of lawyers and lobbyists are urging the Treasury, Comptroller of the Currency, SEC and the Fed to “take it easy on [Wall] Street.” Apparently, there is some concern that the constant increase in regulation, both in the U.S and Europe, could potentially drive banks and other financial institutions to go “where regulations are looser.” (also check out my earlier blog post about hedge fund growth in Asia)
While financial regulation such as The Dodd-Frank Bill or Basel III is often a topic we discuss at our events, it is always from an angle of what firms should be doing to prepare – such as what technology to re-evaluate, what processes to streamline, what people to hire, etc. We have never discussed, however, whether all of this reform is really good for Wall Street and what impact it could have on the number of firms that might decide to shut their doors or get fed up and move their operations to other markets. Regulations might put a few of the big boys in check and give Main Street a sense of satisfaction in that the bad people have been punished, but is Wall Street being punished too much? Is Wall Street being used as a scapegoat to our detriment? Will all this regulation just push banks and other financial firms (along with jobs) to other countries where regulations are less restrictive? I don’t know about you, but I shudder at the thought.