By Peter Schroeder - 02-03-17 13:50 PM EST
President Trump Friday signed a pair of executive orders aimed at lightening the regulatory load on financial institutions, setting the stage for a broader push to scale back the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The orders are somewhat limited in scale but indicate the new administration will make an overhaul of Wall Street rules a priority going forward.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Dodd-Frank, signed by President Obama in response to the 2008 financial crisis, painting it as dead weight dragging down the economy.
"Today we are signing core principles for regulating the United States financial system," Trump said while signing the orders.
One order would simply direct the Treasury secretary to meet with other top financial regulators and deliver a report in 120 days detailing what they believe is working, and not working, for Dodd-Frank. The report would also include recommendations for what legal and regulatory changes should be made to the law.
The order itself is limited, but Trump will be able to make his mark on the law going forward, primarily by filling out key regulatory positions with his own picks. But more wholesale changes to the overall structure of those rules will likely require help from Congress.
Early indications are that Democrats are eager to criticize any efforts to make life easier for Wall Street.
"The Wall Street bankers and lobbyists whose greed and recklessness nearly destroyed this country may be toasting each other with champagne, but the American people have not forgotten the 2008 financial crisis - and they will not forget what happened today," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a statement.
The second order would have a more immediate impact. That executive action directs the Labor Department to halt work on a contentious rule aimed at retirement investment advisers, known as the "fiduciary duty" rule.
The rule would require financial advisers to act solely for the benefit of their clients, a requirement backers say is critical to ensuring customers are not steered into pricey and ineffective investments by advisers looking to boost their commissions.
The financial industry has fought the regulation, painting it as overbroad and overly burdensome.
That rule was finalized last summer by the Obama administration but was not planned to take effect until April 2017. But under the order, the government is delaying implementation of that rule and ordering it to be reviewed by the Labor Department.
With Trump in power, and Republicans and the financial industry longtime opponents of the regulatory effort, it is highly unlikely the rule will ever take effect in a substantially similar format.