POLITICS

Who's benefitting from Dodd-Frank? Hedge funds.

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

All major government interventions in the economy have winners and losers. So who are the winners of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law?

Well, first of all, federal regulators and congressional aides who shaped the regulation are increasingly monetizing their public service, thanks to the opportunity's created by the complexity and flexibility of this law.

But more importantly, the big hedge funds seem to be winning.

First, check out this survey of hedge funds, that finds they like the regulatory requirements.

Second, check out this shakeup in the bond market:

BlackRock Inc. is planning to launch a trading platform this year that would let the world's largest money manager and its peers bypass Wall Street and trade bonds directly with one another.

The electronic trading hub has the potential to reduce a lucrative revenue stream for investment banks at a time when their businesses are being squeezed by lackluster markets and new regulations put in place to curb risk in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Put these anecdotes in this context:

Three years ago, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., leaned on hedge funds to lobby more. The funds soon hired his banking staffer as a lobbyist. She began raising money for Schumer. Now he's championing financial regulation that would benefit these hedge funds. "Racket" might be the right word here.

Interesting, in my view, and certainly a different story than the one President Obama tells about Dodd-Frank.

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