WASHINGTON — Though much of the attention to the recently enacted regulatory reform law has focused on its creation of a consumer protection bureau, the Dodd-Frank Act also created an Office of Financial Research with an ambitious mandate — one many doubt it can accomplish.

The office is tasked with collecting data on behalf of the Financial Stability Oversight Board and analyzing it to spot risks to the economy. Though observers praise the effort, many pointed to challenges, including who the agency will target, how much information it will collect and whether it can successfully analyze the data.

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