The "Volcker Rule": Barring Banking Organizations from Proprietary Trading, Fund Investment, and Sponsorship

Engage, Volume 11, Issue 2
By Julius L. Loeser
August 31, 2010
The “Volcker Rule” is a new federal statute proposed by the President at the instance of former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker that would ban proprietary trading, i.e., trading for a bank’s own account, as opposed to that of a customer, in a bank’s trading book. The trading book is an accounting concept and distinguishes the way an asset is held based on the holder’s intent to trade the asset as opposed to holding it to maturity, the carrying value of the former being marked to market daily. The Volcker Rule exempts both market-making and hedging activity from the prohibition and would also exclude securities that banks have long been permitted to underwrite and deal in, such as bonds issued by the U.S. government and its agencies and state and local bonds, as well as Government National Mortgage Associations (“GNMAs”), Federal National Mortgage Associations (“FNMAs”), and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporations (“FHLMCs”)...