Ten years ago, as risk-taking in the financial sector was growing, Washington regulators either weren't looking, didn't know what they were looking at, or weren't sure what to do about it, Washington observers said.
Now, as memories fade, there is a call for revisiting, if not undoing, some measures put in place to prevent another crisis.
"One of the worst things was that agencies were working alone," said Sarah Bloom Raskin, who served as a Federal Reserve Board governor from 2010 to 2014, when she was appointed deputy secretary of the Treasury Department until 2017.
That sense of a Wall Street version of the Wild West culminated in passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Its 880 pages directed regulators, including newly created agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Board, to write scores of new rules aimed at both stabilizing markets and preventing the next crisis.
Another creation of Dodd-Frank was the Financial Stability Oversight Council, designed to have regulators compare notes while looking for systemic risk, and then decide which financial institutions were important enough to be subjected to further oversight.
For investors, the many changes brought by Dodd-Frank include centralized clearing of standard over-the-counter interest-rate and credit-default swaps, which spurred the rise of alternatives managers, and more oversight of hedge fund and other private fund advisers, now required to register and file disclosures with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This month, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed easing swaps rules for "de minimis" practitioners, causing Wall Street watchdog groups to worry about a resurgence of some of the crisis' riskiest practices.