A few years ago, congress approved and President Obama signed legislation called Dodd-Frank, which was supposed to regulate the actions of Wall Street banks by curbing the financial crimes and other unethical shenanigans of the big banks. Dodd-Frank was weak legislation, badly watered down by Wall Street lobbyists, so the press told us. What the corporate press didn’t tell us is that it was created to be ineffective.
That’s because of Hedge Funds. Hedge funds are unregulated investment firms not impacted by Dodd-Frank, or any other federal regulations.
The big banks all own hedge funds, which are many times larger than the big banks. So, for example, if Goldman Sachs is worth $20 billion, then its two hedge funds are worth closer to $100 billion each. That means only the front company of these investment banks are being “weakly” regulated.
Under the above scenario, only 8 percent of Goldman Sachs is being weakly regulated by Dodd-Frank and whatever other rules are in the federal books. The same holds true for Citibank, JP Morgan/Chase and all the other big banks that have hired the Clinton’s to give speeches on topics they don’t know much about.
In ballyhooing Dodd-Frank, the Democrats achieved virtually no regulations on Wall Street, but they did create a smokescreen by which they could claim they did something significant. Blow away the smoke screen, and they achieved almost nothing in the way of regulating Wall Street.
Hedge Funds were created in 1940. They were small wealth managing companies that were limited to having 99 clients or less via a loophole in the New Deal Reforms.
“The Investment Company and Investment Advisers Acts of 1940 prohibited firms operating with pools of investor money from engaging in risky practices like short sales (bets that a stock will go down instead of up), leverage (investing with borrowed funds to amplify returns and heighten risk), and corporate takeovers. Meanwhile, investment companies had to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), disclosing their portfolios and their corporate structures. The 1940 laws also restricted certain types of fund manager compensation. The purpose was to eliminate the kind of speculative risks with pools of capital that generated the Great Depression.”
Hedge Funds were never a big player in today’s financial markets until one day in 1996 “President Bill Clinton signed the National Securities Markets Improvement Act (NSMIA), which overhauled state and federal responsibility for securities market oversight. It was part of a series of financial market deregulations in the Clinton era, advanced with broad Wall Street support and almost no resistance in Congress: After bipartisan agreement, the House and Senate finalized NSMIA with a voice vote.”
BarclayHedge now estimates hedge fund assets under management in the third quarter of 2015 at $2.7 trillion, up from about $100 billion in 1995. And that doesn’t count the borrowed money also invested by the same firms, which likely total trillions more.
After Clinton left office, Wall Street investment banks rewarded Bill and Hillary Clinton for their loyalty by paying them millions of dollars in speaking fees. No doubt, President Obama will get the same deal if he can get the Trans Pacific Partnership passed through congress via partnership with the Republican Party.
The game is still rigged and Dodd-Frank is almost completely useless thanks to the big banks and their Hedge Funds.
As for Hedge Funds, they are now the preferred vehicle of ripping people off, manipulating markets via their trillions of dollars, helping the big banks keep millions of homes off the markets so as to create the current (as well as the last) housing bubble, and so much more.
The Clinton’s have exacerbated our current crisis of democracy. Vote Bernie Sanders!
As for the rest of the story, stay tuned.