The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires or authorizes various federal financial regulators to issue hundreds of rules to implement reforms intended to strengthen the financial services industry. GAO is required to annually study financial services regulations. GAO has issued a report that examines:

  • the regulatory analyses, including cost-benefit analyses, financial regulators have performed to assess the impact of selected final rules issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act;
  • how financial regulators consulted with each other in implementing the selected final rules to avoid duplication or conflicts; and
  • what is known about the impact of the final rules.

GAO examined the 32 final Dodd-Frank Act rules in effect as of July 21, 2011; the regulatory analyses conducted for 10 of the 32 rules that allowed for some level of agency discretion; statutes and executive orders requiring agencies to perform regulatory analysis; and studies on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act. GAO also interviewed regulators, academics, and industry representatives.

The GAO report found that regulators had coordinated on some of the rules that were effective as of July 2011. It noted such coordination is a positive stepping stone for future coordination. However, GAO also found that most of the coordination, to date, had been informal and ad hoc. GAO also found that most of the federal financial regulators included in its review, including the CFPB, did not have formal policies to guide interagency coordination. According to GAO, while informal and ad hoc coordination can produce the desired results, such coordination can break down when disagreements arise or other work becomes pressing. Formal policies can institutionalize informal coordination practices and provide a framework for coordinating, helping to ensure that regulators are appropriately consulted and that their views, including conflicting viewpoints, are addressed in a consistent and transparent fashion. Given its membership and charge to help facilitate coordination among its member agencies, GAO believes FSOC is positioned to work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish compatible policies that would guide and facilitate interagency coordination among its members throughout the course of Dodd-Frank Act rulemakings.