2 Years and 900 Pages Later, the Volcker Rule Gets the Green Light

Five agencies sign off but the battle of interpretation has just begun

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Former Fed Chair Paul Volcker

Five regulatory agencies signed off on the Volcker rule on Tuesday, bringing their two-year struggle to define the regulations to a close, sort of.

In theory it will stop big banks from making risky trades that pose a threat to the wider market. In reality, it took 900 pages of fine print to pin down slippery concepts such as “big” banks and “risky” trades. As TIME has reported here and here, those 900 pages come stacked with ambiguities and exceptions that banks will interpret and challenge in the years ahead.

In a sign of how complex that battle will be, Reuters reports that regulators have extended the deadline for compliance by one year to July 2015 and left open the possibility of more delays.