Wall Street needs stricter regulations


Wall Street is known for big bonuses — the kind of bonuses that let investment bankers make more in a day than many people make in a year. But the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is looking to combat that a little. Regulators have proposed a rule that, if approved, will force financial firms like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to defer at least half of bonuses for top executives for three years. The FDIC hopes that, by making these institutions defer payment over longer periods of time, it will force them to more closely analyze their executives' long-term performances, thereby deterring them from making impulsive, high-risk trades or investments. While the FDIC's intentions are noble, there are some flaws in this plan that need to be patched up if they want it to work successfully.

While the rule would tell these financial institutions to defer bonuses, there does not seem to be a plan for enforcing this instruction — at least, if there is a plan, it is not public. Such a plan is crucial to the success of the FDIC's rule. After all the U.S. economy has gone through because of Wall Street's practices, can the country really trust them to do the right thing, even when told to by the FDIC? It seems, then, the rule as it is proposed is not strict enough. There needs to be more regulations put into place — along with a system of enforcement — to ensure the bonuses will, in fact, be deferred.

Also, Wall Street culture as it is encourages quick, high-risk, almost impulsive trades. There is little to no emphasis on long-term success in these financial institutions. Instead, all of their transactions are rooted in the immediate. What the FDIC is trying to do, then, is drastically change Wall Street culture. This is an incredibly difficult step to take. Certainly, if the FDIC is successful in this endeavor, the U.S. economy could greatly benefit from an attitude change in these institutions. But, as stated above, for such a drastic change to take place, the FDIC is going to need to do more.

We applaud the FDIC's attempts, but this has to be only the first step. If the FDIC wants to reform Wall Street, a lot needs to be done. Merely putting this rule into practice is not going to make much of a dent. What Wall Street needs are more rules, more regulations and far more scrutiny.


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