Regulatory org chart or diabolical eye exam?

Ever wonder who looks after what in U.S. regulation of payment, clearing and settlement – the plumbing, so to speak, of the financial system?  Check out this dizzying chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The regional central bank bills the graphic as an attempt to clarify the “complex relationship among U.S. regulators and the systems that provide payment, clearing and settlement services.” Simple, right?

The chart is testimony to a level of complexity that is likely to get worse as the Fed takes a bigger role in overseeing “systemically important” financial institutions like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Please direct any further questions to the Chicago Fed.


Another kind of death panels

U.S. Representative Barney Frank has never been shy about expressing his opinions. His opening remarks at a hearing he chaired with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday was no exception. Frank poked fun at a political squabble over healthcare reform as he detailed his position on what to do about non-bank financial firms considered “too big to fail.”

    “There will be death panels enacted by this Congress, but they will be for non-bank financial institutions that will not be considered too big to die.
    I say that because we have this euphemism that we are going to be ‘resolving’ these institutions. It has not been my experience that when someone says they are going to resolve something, they kill it. We are talking about dissolution, not resolution. We are talking about making it unpleasant for the entities. This is not a fate people will want.”