Obama to Meet With Financial Regulators Ahead of New Rule

  • 'Fiduciary' rule opposed by brokers is expected soon
  • 'America's pretty darn great right now,' Obama says on economy

President Barack Obama will meet Monday with financial regulators who are finishing new rules to manage financial markets, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The participants, who the White House did not name, will discuss efforts to implement consumer financial protections and combat abusive practices by the financial industry that predated the 2008 financial crisis, according to a White House statement.

The administration is gearing up to release a new "fiduciary" rule that will require brokers handling retirement accounts to put their clients’ best interests first. Currently, brokers are required only to offer investments that fit a client’s needs and risk tolerance at the time of sale. The brokerage industry largely opposes the new rule.

Under the Labor Department’s proposed rule, brokers could earn sales commissions and other income if they sign a “best-interest” contract with investors to disclose fees and incentives that might influence recommendations.

"One of the the key legacy achievements of this presidency will be the important reforms of Wall Street," Earnest told reporters on Friday. "Those reforms have led to a financial system that is more stable and ensures that taxpayers are not on the hook for bailing out financial institutions that make risky bets."

Jobs Report

Obama met with his economic advisers on Friday, after the Labor Department reported that the U.S. added 242,000 jobs in February, in the longest stretch of private-sector job growth on record. The report also said average hourly earnings dropped in the first monthly decline in more than a year.

"There seems to be an alternative reality out there from some of the political folks that America’s down in the dumps. It’s not," Obama said after the meeting. "America’s pretty darn great right now"

Obama last met with financial regulators in October 2014, including the Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Martin Gruenberg and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White, among others.

In that meeting, Obama commended regulators for their enactment of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and asked them to identify other steps to "prevent excessive risk-taking" across the financial system, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

The Dodd-Frank Act expanded the central bank’s power to oversee the largest financial institutions and gave regulators new tools aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. It imposed new rules on derivatives, limited the ability of banks to trade on their own account and imposed new rules for home loans.

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