01.30.2012
By Markets Media

Volcker Strikes Again

It seems like the Dodd-Frank Act has been talked about again and again before, during and after its implementation. One of the most reported on facets of the bill, the Volcker rule, continues to steal the spotlight again and again for its material impact on the bulge bracket banks.

The Volcker rule, in essence, states that banks should risk no more than 3% of Tier 1 capital on hedge fund and alternative investments. The idea is that it should reduce exposure to volatile asset classes and lower global systemic risk.

There is also another side to the Volcker rule that effectively institutes a ban on in house proprietary trading. Many banks have shuttered their proprietary trading units in addition to hedge fund investment units in order to comply with the rule.

This week, Citigroup followed suit and did the same following an overall slump in equities trading among institutions. Staff will be leaving this week as the unit winds down for good in anticipation of regulators’ disdain for principal trading units. Citigroup was unavailable for comment.

“This is a trend that has clearly affected the big banks,” said one former trader for a major institution. “They are gearing up in anticipation of a very tough regulatory environment combined with problems trading customer deposits that has left them with essentially no choice but to shutter those units.”

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