Agencies point to three letters in extending comment period on Volcker Rule

The 30-day extension of the comment period on proposed changes to the “Volcker Rule” was made by federal banking and trading markets regulators after commenters – in three letters in particular – suggested doing so would give them more time to “analyze the proposal and prepare their comments,” the agencies say in a notice scheduled to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

According to the notice, which sets the comment deadline now at Oct. 17 (from Sept. 17), the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pointed to specific letters asking for a comment period extension.

Those letters were from, the agencies said: Agencies from Better Markets, Americans for Financial Reform, Public Citizen and the Center for American Progress (joint letter, dated July 10, 2018); U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Oregon, dated, Aug. 6, 2018); and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU, dated July 25, 2018).

The Volcker Rule, adopted as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank), prohibits banking firms from engaging in proprietary trading or entering into certain relationships with hedge funds and private-equity funds

The 686-page long proposal, issued in July, is aimed at providing banks and other entities with clarity about what activities are prohibited under the rule and to improve supervision and implementation. It tailors Volcker Rule requirements for three tiers of firms based on trading activity level. In brief, firms with less than $1 billion of consolidated gross trading assets and liabilities would have a rebuttable presumption of compliance with the rule. This group reportedly represents about 98% of total U.S. trading activity by banking entities.

Proposed Revisions to Prohibitions and Restrictions on Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in, and Relationships With, Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds