Policy Documents

The Dodd-Frank Act: What it does, what it means, and what happens next

John Lester and John Bovenzi –
June 1, 2010

After much partisan wrangling, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law on July 20, 2010. It is the most significant change to U.S. financial regulation since the New Deal. Regulators will gain new powers, financial firms will be subject to new demands, and every financial market will be affected.

Enactment of Dodd-Frank, though, marks only a new stage of financial reform, as the debate shifts to the rulemaking efforts of federal agencies. The complexity of the law and the many decisions delegated to regulators makes it difficult to predict which of the law’s many provisions will come to be the most significant. Ultimately, it will be regulators who determine the true impact of the law.