The Treasury Department recommended a sweeping overhaul of stock and debt market regulations on Friday in a 232-page report that was ordered by President Trump.
The report contains many recommendations that would require action by Congress, which so far has sputtered in pursuing a Republican financial regulatory relief agenda. But many of its recommendations also could be carried out by the Trump administration unilaterally.
"The U.S. has experienced slow economic growth for far too long," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "By streamlining the regulatory system, we can make the U.S. capital markets a true source of economic growth which will harness American ingenuity and allow small businesses to grow."
Citing a decline in the number of publicly-traded companies, the report called for easing the rules and lessening the paperwork involved in issuing stock, including "streamlining" disclosures to investors and tailoring them based on the size of companies seeking to go public. It advocated going beyond the JOBS Act, a 2012 law signed by President Obama that eased some securities laws and sought to facilitate crowdfunding as a way of raising capital.
The Treasury recommended revising the powers and jurisdictions of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to prevent overlapping powers. The regulatory agencies would have to make more use of economic analysis when deciding whether to impose new rules, a measure that business groups say would improve regulation but that critics warn might slow regulators trying to act. It also called for curbing the use of informal guidance and other maneuvers that agencies use to police markets without going through the formal regulatory procedures.
The report urged Congress to repeal several capital markets rules mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. In particular, it recommended doing away with the requirement that companies disclose whether they use "conflict minerals" sourced from parts of Africa afflicted by war. It advised Congress to undo the mandate that corporations disclose how much CEOs earn relative to the median workers at their companies, a regulation that businesses have said is unworkable and that Republicans have derided as class warfare.
House Republicans have already passed legislation that would repeal those parts of the law. That bill, which is a major rewrite of the nation's financial rules, hasn't gained consideration in the Senate.
Friday's report is one of several planned by the Treasury. In June, it published a vision for a sweeping reform of the banking system.