This course examines the ever-evolving regulation of financial markets, institutions, and innovative financial products. It provides a comprehensive overview of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”) and its ongoing implementation efforts by Federal financial regulators. The Dodd-Frank Act is the most consequential reform of the financial services industry since the Great Depression. We will analyze financial market reform efforts that are intended to increase transparency in financial markets, reduce systemic risks, increase the safety and soundness of the financial system, and enhance protections for consumers.
The course examines the reform of over-the-counter derivatives markets, analyzes changes to federal banking laws (including systemic risk regulations, new capital and margin requirements, resolution authorities and the Volcker Rule), and explores enhanced consumer protection rules. The course will also explore advances in financial technology (commonly referred to as ‘FinTech’), specifically virtual currency. We will examine how virtual currencies are used by financial market participants and evaluate major developments in the regulation of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and others.
By the end of this course, I hope you will have a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. You will gain a sense of the genesis and policy developments underpinning the Dodd-Frank legislation, an overview of fundamental aspects of financial reform in Dodd-Frank, its basic requirements, its overarching goals, and its upsides and downsides. You will not learn every detail of financial services regulation or every part of Dodd-Frank, but you should grasp the nature and structure of the central tenants of federal oversight of the financial services industry and its market participants.
Another aim of the course is skills-oriented. By participating in class discussions and preparing and presenting the Comment Letter Group Project, I hope you will hone your skills in speaking fluently and comfortably about legal issues. The Comment Letter Group Project is designed to give you real-world experience/exposure to what regulatory lawyers actually do in private and government practice in the financial services space. I want students to be able to identify an issue, think critically about how to solve it, employ legal reasoning to defend their approach, and practice legal writing. My specific expectations for the comment letter project are set out in the “Comment Letter Group Project” section of syllabus.