As Reform Takes Shape, Some Relief on Wall St.
By ERIC DASH and NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
The financial reform legislation making its way through Congress has Wall Street executives privately relieved that the bill does not do more to fundamentally change how the industry does business.
Despite the outcry from lobbyists and warnings from conservative Republicans that the legislation will choke economic growth, bankers and many analysts think that the bill approved by the Senate last week will reduce Wall Street’s profits but leave its size and power largely intact. Industry officials are also hopeful that several of the most punitive provisions can be softened before it is signed into law.
Though there is anger in some quarters, other financial executives seem resigned to the changes, acknowledging that after the industry’s excesses set the stage for the deepest recession since the 1930s, there were bound to be major reforms.
“While I don’t agree with everything in the bill, given everything that’s happened during the financial crisis, it was inevitable that new regulation would come to Wall Street,” said Donald B. Marron, the former chief executive of PaineWebber and now the head of Lightyear Capital, a New York private equity firm. “Despite these new rules, Wall Street will continue to provide the same important business services because the same needs are still there — creating liquidity; financing governments, corporations and individuals; and providing financial advice and products.”