Financial Reform Watch

Momentum for Mark-to-Market Reform

It has been a good week for opponents of mark-to-market (M2M) accounting. The markets have rallied around comments made throughout the week by Warren Buffet, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro that M2M needs rethinking.

House Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) topped it all off today with an exhaustive hearing on M2M accounting. Kanjorski opened the hearing with comments that appear to be the emerging view:

“We can, however, no longer deny the reality of the pro-cyclical nature of mark-to-market accounting. It has produced numerous unintended consequences. And it has exacerbated the ongoing economic crisis. If the regulators and standard setters do not act now to improve the standards, then the Congress will have no other option than to act itself.”

Momentum is clearly building in Washington for M2M relief. The question is who will make the fix—Congress or the regulators ("inspired" by Congress)?

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