This week, Wall Street banks officially became exposed to the Volcker rule. Auditors will be checking in with the banks to make sure they are in compliance. The rule restricts banks from making bets with their own money. Many of the banks have been preparing for the past few years for the impacts from the new rule.
Much remains uncertain about how the rule will work. Regulators have checked on banks’ preparations but won’t start conducting the first audits for compliance until later this summer, officials said. “No one has experienced what life [under the rule] is going to be like, because they haven’t had to comply and they haven’t been examined yet,” said Robert Maxant, a partner at consultancy Deloitte & Touche LLP. Yet many of the activities prohibited by the Volcker rule, named for its originator, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, already have moved away from banks. In some cases, traders have left banks altogether. A total of 1,428 new hedge funds were launched from 2011 to 2014, according to Preqin, a firm that tracks the industry. As many as 214 of those were created by employees who left banks, the company estimates.