Five years after the passage of Dodd-Frank, there is still a vigorous debate in this country about the basics of our financial markets and the regulatory framework that governs them. It’s an issue that incites passion and division, and too often, the truth gets obscured and the point of the debate gets lost in the noise. The point is that we need a financial regulatory system that works.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness seeks to foster an honest debate based on some key truths:

A financial system that is vibrant, well-regulated, transparent and fair lifts everyone up. Financial tools and consumer credit are essential to making our daily lives better. You can finance a car or a home, save for education and retirement, and even start a business. Access to capital markets is critical to all of these opportunities. Without it, many would fail to pursue their dreams or live in comfort and security.

Capital markets are key to commerce. A robust system fuels entrepreneurship, powering the ideas and innovations that improve our lives. It supports business operations and, with it, job creation and economic growth. Main Street must have access to short- and long-term capital, liquidity and risk management tools to keep its businesses running. More businesses fail because they run out of capital than because they run out of customers.

Dodd-Frank and other reforms, so far, haven’t strengthened our financial system. They’ve simply layered a new regulatory framework on top of an outdated one. They have created additional complexity, overlap, contradiction and confusion. And they threaten diversity and innovation in the system, as well as consumer and business access to the financial tools and services these groups need.

It’s not too late to fix the system. The Chamber of Commerce is working to incrementally improve Dodd-Frank by fixing what isn’t working, adding what it left out and replacing what it got wrong. But Dodd-Frank isn’t the beginning and the end of financial reform. Once we realize that this is not just about one law, we can focus on the way forward. We can pursue the holistic changes to our financial regulatory system that will enable our capital markets to fulfill their purpose.

If we’re willing to have a truthful conversation about our capital markets, then we can make meaningful progress toward the kind of system we need — a system that serves consumers, empowers entrepreneurs, fuels business growth, supports saving and investment, spurs the economy, strengthens the financial system and ensures America’s global competitiveness.

To learn more about these and other truths about our capital markets, visit

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.