Major players studying financial reform bill

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) speaks with an aide while participating in a Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

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Tess Vigeland: Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of the Senate and a tireless fighter for his home state of West Virginia, died early this morning. Amid the tributes that poured forth all day, there was also a hint of ghoulish exasperation. With Byrd's death, it is by no means certain that there are enough senators to vote yes on the financial reform bill. Meanwhile, all the major players are trying to figure out what's really in the bill.

Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: The financial regulations aren't what you'd call a good beach read. But for a certain set -- bankers, lawyers, consultants, regulators -- they're a must-read. A 4,000 page one.

Oliver Ireland: A lot of people have been poring over it. There were changes right up to the last minute, and people are still digesting what exactly those things mean.

Oliver Ireland is in the financial services practice at Morrison and Foerster, it's a law firm. He says it's not enough to just read the bill.

Ireland: You then have to go back and you have to look at the existing structure is and what's being changed and then think about what the effect of the change is going to be.

Most of the financial world has been poring over this for months. And now that they're pretty sure what's going to be in the bill, they're cramming again. Most firms divided up the reading. Then they'll compare notes to make sure they're really getting the full picture.

David Nason is at Promontory Financial. It's a financial services consulting firm.

David Nason: I mean, first things first, every client wants to make sure they're complying with the law. And then the second thing is, OK what do we need to do to maximize our ability to continue to earn money?

That could take awhile. The bill still has to get signed into law. And then the regulators need to write the rules, which means everybody will have to start studying up again.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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