Investors' rights addressed
Little guys won some battles in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, though that does depend on how you define "little guys" and "won."
Recent bad corporate behavior compelled legislators to step in and tweak corporate governance by giving shareholders proxy access and allowing them to vote on executive pay and golden parachutes.
"People ask us all the time about corporate governance, and 'How can I track the relationship between corporate governance and bad corporate behavior?' You can look at any of the current news stories about companies and trace it back to corporate governance," says Mark Schlegel, founder of MoxyVote.com.
"Look at BP. There is some argument that it comes back to corporate governance issues: Were the directors asking the right questions? Were they tough enough on management?" Schlegel says.
Small investors may also get more protection when it comes to their investment advisers. Retail investors are rarely aware that it's perfectly legal for brokers to overcharge customers -- as long as suitability standards are met. With the new legislation, investors will get the assurance of knowing that brokers have to put their customers' best interests first.
Finally, people with money in the bank can rest easier knowing that FDIC insurance will permanently cover more of their funds.
Find out more about how the new financial regulations will affect investors.