After a marathon final day of debate, the regulatory reform process ended in the early hours of Friday in the same dramatic manner it had been conducted for more than a year: with a near breakdown followed eventually by a miraculous save.

After several hours of late-night wrangling, conferees resolved the two most problematic questions: how to finalize a ban on proprietary trading and limit banks' investment in hedge funds and private equity firms, and whether to force banks to spin-off their derivatives trading desks.

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