Paul Volcker, an adviser to the White House, said he is optimistic about the prospects for a ban on proprietary trading at banks and reform of the derivatives market. "Should commercial banking institutions engaged in providing those essential services and within the 'safety net' be permitted to engage in strictly proprietary and risky activities -- trading, hedge funds and private equity funds?" Volcker asked in a speech. "Should the investment banks, the insurance companies or, for that matter, the finance arms of industrial firms retain the banking license and access to the Fed provided in the heat of crises? I think not."