Investment bank Goldman Sachs reported losses last quarter, and some folks are chalking this up to the Volcker Rule — a regulation created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill.
But here's a telling line from Goldman's latest earnings call, as reported on Seeking Alpha:
As for the Volcker Rule's impact on revenue, Schwartz says there won't be any of note. Instead, it will be more an expense item: "There’s a pretty extensive compliance regime."
If that's true -- if Goldman's CFO wasn't just blowing smoke at investors -- it says something pretty damning about the Volcker Rule. It suggests the rule's biggest effect is not to halt risky behavior, but to force Goldman to hire a bunch of lobbyists, lawyers and accountants to figure out how to shoehorn what Goldman wants to do into what Volcker allows (creating a moat to protect Goldman, meanwhile).
Here's some corroborating evidence:
* Goldman Sachs recap: With new rule comes “Volcker implementation team”