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Treasury Seeking Right Balance in Volcker Rule, Miller Says

U.S. regulators are committed to finding a balance in the Volcker rule ban on proprietary trading that will keep financial markets safe while allowing market-making activities, U.S. Treasury official Mary Miller said.

The Treasury is “committed to achieving the right balance in the final rule,” Miller, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial markets, said in a speech in Washington today to the Institute of International Bankers.

Miller, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to become the Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance, said she appreciates “the role of market-making” and knows the “importance of deep, liquid markets. It is essential to have buyers who are willing to step up and buy a position, particularly during times of market stress.”

The Volcker rule, named for its original champion, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, is intended to reduce the chance that banks will make risky investments with their own capital that put their deposits at risk. The provision is part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

Miller, asked whether the Volcker rule might be delayed beyond July, when it’s scheduled to take effect, said “that is the Federal Reserve’s call.” She said it’s “too soon to make any call” about delaying the rule.

The financial industry opposes parts of Dodd-Frank, including the Volcker rule. The proposed regulation drew 17,000 letters, the most of any Dodd-Frank provision, during a comment period that ended last month.

Miller told the bankers U.S. regulators are “very attentive” to the industry’s comments and opinions.

Dodd-Frank was enacted by Congress and signed into law by Obama to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis that followed the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

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