Posted by Bill: This could be a big development. According to ABC News, Senator Dodd has accepted as a part of financial reform Senator Blanche Lincoln's proposed ban on banks owning derivatives operations; this is a provision that would force the big banks to spin off the businesses that led them into the 2008 meltdown.
Passage of such a proposal will be a major fight, but one that could well be worth it in terms of ensuring the safety of the marketplace— and limiting the damage that can be done by derivatives.
Basically, the megabanks would have to observe derivatives deals from across the street and would have no incentive to lure their clients into buying them, creating another watchdog on things like synthetic CDOs and some of the other wonderful financial products that now clog the garbage pails on Wall Street. Doing so would cost the banks a big slice of business, so expect a very angry response from the moguls.
(Kavanagh cross-posts at Bill's Big Diamond.)