AFR in the News: Peter Barnes – Public Interest Groups Using Ex-Goldman Exec Op-Ed in Fight for Tougher Wall Street Rules

Public Interest Groups Using Ex-Goldman Exec Op-Ed in Fight for Tougher Wall Street Rules – Peter Barnes (FoxBusiness)
March 16, 2012

“Public interest advocates in Washington want to turn former Goldman Sachs (GS: 122.93, -0.13, -0.11%) executive Greg Smith into their poster child for tough new rules for Wall Street. Smith quit his job as a vice president of Goldman on Wednesday in a blistering, public op-ed column in the New York Times. He charged Goldman with ‘ripping off’ its clients by putting its pursuit of profit ahead of serving their best interests.  ‘We are ensuring the regulatory agencies understand both the existence of Mr. Smith’s column and its import,’ Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate for Public Citizen, told FOX Business. ‘It’s already been submitted officially to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.  We attempt to have ongoing communication with agency staff and officials.  Several meetings are forthcoming where we will make sure they have seen this.’…Right now, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the CFTC and other financial supervisors are crafting new regulations for big financial firms under the so-called Volcker Rule, which was part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation Congress approved in 2010. …Public Citizen and other groups charge that banks and Wall Street firms are lobbying regulators to create loopholes and exemptions from the Volcker Rule, to allow them to continue trading securities for their own account.    ‘You shouldn’t be able to call it something else and get away with it,’ said Heather Slavkin, a senior legal and policy adviser for the AFL-CIO’s office of investment. She said Smith’s column ‘confirms the bad behavior…has not stopped.’ Public Citizen and the AFL-CIO are part of a coalition, Americans for Financial Reform, that is pushing regulators to crack down on financial firms. Another reform organization, Better Markets, urged Smith to join it this week to ‘make a difference.’ His column ‘is absolutely something that we’re going to use’ in lobbying regulators for tough provisions in the Volcker Rule, spokesman Bill Swindell said.” Click here for more.