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Will the Federal Reserve assume the power to disturb the capital markets?

*Bloomberg, by Craig Torres and Jesse Westbrook, March 27, 2008

Fed May Gain Influence From Crisis at SEC’s Expense

“America’s financial system faces its biggest overhaul since the Great Depression as officials weigh lessons from the credit-market rout and the near collapse of Bear Stearns Cos.

Federal Reserve policy makers are redefining which companies are vital to the flow of credit, an area once the sole domain of commercial banks, and which institutions pose risks to the entire economy if they fail. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in a speech yesterday that the Fed should broaden its oversight to include Wall Street investment firms, now regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former regulators predict the changes will see the Fed accrue influence at the expense of the SEC, which was created by President Franklin Roosevelt to make rules for dealers and stock exchanges. The Fed is taking almost $30 billion in assets off Bear Stearns’s balance sheet to encourage JPMorgan Chase & Co. to buy the firm, even though Bear’s main supervisor is the SEC.”


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