Late last year, Elizabeth Warren fought hard to prevent Antonio Weiss, an ex-Lazard banker, from taking a top position at the Treasury, claiming he was yet another Wall Streeter passing through the revolving door with Washington, and would inevitably damage financial regulation to the benefit of the big banks.
She won that battle: Weiss ended up declining the position and taking role as counselor to the Treasury secretary instead.
Now, Weiss has come out swinging in defence of financial regulation, with an op-ed written in The Wall Street Journal.
“It is neither possible nor prudent to return to practices that were prevalent prior to the crisis,” he wrote.
He pointed to a growing concern in financial markets about liquidity, and the increasingly prevalent theory that it has been “killed” by regulations, which ought to be repealed.
“The reality is not so simple, and that prescription is dangerous,” he wrote.
This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act, which was designed to change the rules of the game on Wall Street, reduce risk-taking, and prevent a similar crisis from ever occurring again.
The law has been controversial from the outset.
It has already seen a number of amendments, and a push in Congress to tweak the most controversial part of the act, the Volcker Rule, and allow banks to trade potentially risky derivatives rather than “pushing out” that business to subsidiaries and other affiliates that aren’t underwritten by the government.
Many believe that more needs to be done to roll back regulation — like these SEC and CFTC commissioners who, despite working at two major regulatory bodies, wrote a scathing column for Reuters about regulators and their “lack of forethought and market knowledge.”
They claim the regulators are contributing to market risk.
Meanwhile, Antonio Weiss over at the Treasury says “Our focus, in both the private and public sectors, should be on adapting to the dynamics of the new marketplace, not on returning to a past whose rules can’t reasonably apply to us now.”
“Only a financial system strong enough to withstand a major financial shock is capable of promoting sustainable economic growth,” he wrote.
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