Recently, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (“Council”) unanimously approved a final rule (the “Final Rule”) and related interpretive guidance (the “Final Guidance”) under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”),  regarding the designation of systemically important nonbank financial companies (often referred to as nonbank “SIFIs”). The Final Rule and Final Guidance describe how the Council will apply the statutory designation standards and the procedures it intends to employ in exercising this authority. Designated companies are required to comply with enhanced prudential standards and are subject to consolidated supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”). The Federal Reserve’s recent proposal regarding these enhanced standards suggests that this will be a comprehensive and rigorous regulatory regime. 
The Final Rule and Final Guidance, which are substantially similar to the Council’s October 2011 proposed rule and guidance (the “October 2011 Proposal”),  do not provide significant new insight as to which companies will ultimately be designated. Nonetheless, it is an important initial procedural step to enable the actual designation process to begin. Secretary of the Treasury Geithner, who chairs the Council, has indicated that the first of these designations will be made this year.