Derivatives-market participants and regulators are striving to figure out how new rules can be implemented while avoiding unintended consequences. The rules, recently approved by Congress, target major banks, which are blamed for exacerbating the financial crisis with their excess leverage and proprietary trading. "The return on equity for banks is not going to reach the high levels it did in the past, and it could mean costs are passed on," Sherri Venokur, an attorney at Lowenstein Sandler, said at a recent conference.

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