Wed, Jun 05, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Regulators in US propose scrutiny of finance groups


US regulators on Monday proposed designating American International Group Inc (AIG), Prudential Financial Inc and General Electric (GE) Capital for heightened regulatory oversight, in a long-anticipated move aimed at cracking down on risks to markets.

A group of regulators known as the Financial Stability Oversight Council said it had voted to propose dubbing certain non-bank financial companies “systemically important,” or so big their failure could destabilize financial markets.

Regulators did not name the companies involved. AIG, Prudential and GE Capital all said on Monday that they had been notified that the risk council had proposed designating them.

A final determination by the council that a firm is systemically important would trigger extra regulatory scrutiny by the US Federal Reserve.

“Today, the council took another important step forward by exercising one of its principal authorities to protect taxpayers, reduce risk in the financial system and promote financial stability,” US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, who chairs the oversight council, said in a statement.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank law created the risk council and gave it the power to bring big, non-bank firms under the Fed’s oversight after several such companies flirted with failure or had to be bailed out during the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Companies tagged for extra oversight would have to participate in regular stress tests, comply with new capital requirements and write living wills, or blueprints for how they could be taken apart if they were to fail.

The risk council has so far designated eight large clearinghouses and other firms that handle trillions of dollars in transactions as systemically important.

Companies have 30 days after the council votes to contest a proposed designation by requesting a hearing.

The council then has 30 days to hold the hearing.

Prudential said in a statement that it was considering whether to request a hearing. AIG spokesman Matthew Gallagher declined to comment on whether the company would appeal.

Russell Wilkerson, a spokesman for GE Capital, said the company was “reviewing the details of the determination” and declined to comment further.

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