The Federal Reserve Board issued a statement clarifying that banks will have two years after effective date of the Volcker rule before regulators will begin enforcing it. The statement was aimed at calming fears that banks would need to be in complete compliance by July 21, when it is slated to take effect.
Banks affected by the rule will have "the full two-year period provided by the statute to fully conform its activities and investments, unless the Board extends the conformance period," the Fed said in the statement. That will give them until July 21, 2014 to come into compliance with the Volcker Rule.
In some ways the announcement is a pre-emptive measure to address the problem that the rule has yet to be finalized and may not be in place by the July 21 deadline set by the Dodd-Frank Act. The Volcker rule restricts banks from engaging in certain types of proprietary trading and from owning and investing in hedge funds and private equity firms, with some exceptions.
House Financial Services Committee member Barney Frank (D-MA) applauded the Fed's announcement and said it was an appropriate and reasoned approach to the implementation of the rule. "The two-year period during which the banks will have to come into compliance with the rule will allow a reasonable time for them to make their necessary changes, and will give the regulators the chance to deal with any particular issues that arise from the experience of implementation," he said. "While this guidance relieves the pressure to adopt a rule on July 21st, it is obviously still important for the Board to propose a final rule quickly, and I am confident that they are seeking to do so."