I'm not here to bash the administration, but I'm really disappointed, Mack said while speaking at public forum at Queens University of Charlotte hosted by Hugh McColl, a former chairman and chief executive of Bank of America
Every decision can't be a political decision. Whatever happened to doing what's right? Mack asked.
He shared his concern about the sentiment coming from Washington and that the focus is too much on politics than on meaningful industry reform.
We will get some changes, Mack said.People are smart enough to know we cannot go forward with the system the way it is... but it is a slow go.
On Jan 1, Mack stepped down as chief executive of Morgan Stanley, making way for James Gorman to take the helm of the New York bank. Mack has retained his role as chairman.
Mack, who has not taken a bonus for the past three years, was critical of the industry's pay practices, which have raised the ire of Main Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis and taxpayer rescue.
I still don't think the industry gets it, said Mack, who said efforts to reform pay have focused too much on structure -- deferring compensation, paying in stock, clawbacks -- not enough on the amounts.
If we don't do something, the government will do something on pay, said Mack, adding that he suggested during a recent meeting with Obama that a panel of bank CEOs and regulators be established to talk about pay.
Obama in recent weeks has called for a crackdown on risky trading, proposing new rules that could change the way business is done on Wall Street. The rules, though, are a long way from becoming law and regulatory efforts have taken longer than many expected.
Mack said the idea that regulators do not know what they are doing is just folly and that change will come.
(Reporting by Steve Eder and Joe Rauch; editing by Carol Bishopric, Leslie Gevirtz)