Volcker Rule reforms expand options for raising VC funds
It’s time to put on our thinking caps so we can discuss an esoteric but important policy change and how it is going to impact the VC world.
The 2008 financial crisis devastated the global economy. One of the reforms that came from the detritus of that situation was a policy known as the Volcker Rule.
The rule, proposed by former Fed chairman Paul Volcker and passed into law with the Dodd-Frank Act, was designed to limit the ways that banks could invest their balance sheets to avoid the kind of cataclysmic systemic risks that the world witnessed during the crisis. Many banks faced a liquidity crunch after investing in mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and other even more arcane speculative financial instruments (like POGs, or Piles Of Garbage) in seeking profits.
A number of reforms are underway to the Volcker Rule, which has been a domestic regulatory priority for the Trump administration since Inauguration Day.
One of the unintended consequences of the rule is that it limited banks from investing in certain “covered funds,” which was written broadly enough that it, well, covered VC firms as well as hedge funds and other private equity vehicles. Reforms to that policy (and to the rule in general) have been proposed for a decade with little traction until recently.
Now, a number of reforms are underway to the Volcker Rule, which has been a domestic regulatory priority for the Trump administration since Inauguration Day.
First, a simplification to some of the rule’s regulations was passed late last year and went into effect in January. Now, a final rule to reform the Volcker Rule’s applications to VC firms, among other issues, was agreed to by a group of U.S. regulatory agencies, and will go into effect later this year.