Finally it is done. In the middle of July, in a 60 to 39 vote,the Senate passed the overhaul of the financial system after nearlya year of debate that often descended into politically-chargedrhetoric. At more than 2,300 pages the bill is mammoth—and littlewonder. It takes apart and then re-makes the nation’s financialinfrastructure. Most financial transactions, from a routine chargeon a credit card to the most complex risk-hedging techniquesmultinational companies use, will at some level be impacted by thebill. The same is true for investors in distress debt, who mayfind more opportunities to invest as regulators clamp down evenharder on certain lending and asset-valuation practices.

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It is an understatement to say there are multiple moving partswithin moving parts to this legislation. Broadly it can be dividedinto several major areas, none of which are much related to theother: the government oversight to which banks will be subject andthe new role of the Federal Reserve Bank, new protections forconsumers, rules on how derivatives are to be used, rules impactinghow banks are allowed to make money and a general rehash of prudentbanking practices.

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