Volcker rule forces trading desk rethink

When the US ban on bank proprietary trading was published last year, it was full of hazy concepts, which lawyers said would be fleshed out by supervisors. One has now issued guidance to its staff – and banks are starting to gather data for their first reports – but lawyers say even the basics are unclear. Peter Madigan reports

Paul Volcker

Depending how they are defined, a big bank might have anything from several dozen trading desks to several hundred – and until the advent of the Volcker rule, with its ban on proprietary trading, the bank might not have cared either way. Now, banks do care, but they are struggling for answers.

It matters because trading desks are the entities lumbered with most of the Volcker rule's compliance work. Each desk is required to state which of the rule's allowed activities it engages in – trading US

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