U.S. Rep. Frank to focus on cooperation

U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) gestures during a news conference on issues before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barney Frank, the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said on Monday that tough financial reforms will not put U.S. businesses at a disadvantage, a message he plans to take to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Frank, a chief architect of the sweeping financial reform package moving through Congress, said he and other policymakers have been working to ensure that new regulations do not send U.S. firms to friendlier shores.

“My major goal this week is to further our efforts at cooperation and work to prevent any national regulatory approaches that allows companies to dodge the kind of accountability and responsibility that is needed,” Frank said in a statement.

World leaders and policymakers will gather in record numbers for the annual Davos forum from January 27 to 31, although top Wall Street bankers will be thin on the ground.

The meetings will be a chance for regulators around the world to coordinate reform efforts in wake of the financial meltdown that brought international financial markets to the brink.

Frank’s committee has passed a broad set of reforms that was later approved by the full House.

The measures include a new consumer agency to police financial products, vast powers for a new systemic risk regulatory council, and the ability to break up large financial firms whose activities are deemed too risky.

The Senate is working to pull together a bipartisan version of similar legislation, but does not have a set timeline for completion.

Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Ted Kerr