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SEC to Consider Volcker Rule Dec. 10 With Paper-Ballot Process

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission plans to consider on Dec. 10 whether to pass the Volcker rule, the regulation that prohibits banks from making speculative bets with their own money.

The five-member commission won’t vote at a public meeting to adopt the rule, said John Nester, a spokesman for the regulator. The agency instead will use a process known as seriatim that calls for commissioners to weigh in on paper.

The Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Commodity Futures Trading Commission also will act on that date, according to notices from the regulators.

“We expect to move up our consideration of the Volcker rule to December 10 using the seriatim process to coordinate our timing with the other agencies on what is expected to be a joint rulemaking,” Nester said yesterday. That process will “enable all of our commissioners to participate in the vote and express their views.”

Named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, the rule is a key part of the Dodd-Frank Act, the U.S. government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. The regulation is intended to block federally-insured banks with access to the central bank’s discount window from speculative trading.

The Obama administration has pressed to adopt the rule by year’s end. The rule will contain exemptions for underwriting, market-making activity and trades intended to hedge other risk.

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