Pennsylvania + Wall


Pennsylvania + Wall provides commentary on a broad range of current financial, economic and regulatory reform topics. The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of SIFMA.

February 09, 2016

Congress Must Take Action on Retirement Income 'Fiduciary Regulation'

DOL, Fiduciary, ERISA, Retirement The following Op Ed was originally published in on February 9, 2016 and  was written by: Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., President & CEO, SIFMA; Dale E. Brown, President & CEO, Financial Services Institute, Inc.; Kevin MayeuxCEO, National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors; Rob NicholsPresident and CEO, American Bankers Association; Dirk A. KempthornePresident & CEO, American Council of Life Insurers; Tim PawlentyPresident & CEO, Financial Services Roundtable; David StertzerCEO, The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting; Paul Schott StevensPresident & CEO, Investment Company Institute; Cathy WeatherfordPresident & CEO, Insured Retirement Institute.

A sweeping change that will hurt Americans' ability to plan and save for retirement is on the agenda for the U.S. Department of Labor. It's called the "fiduciary proposal," a regulation that attempts to ensure Americans receive retirement security advice that is in their best interests.

On close inspection, however, the regulation will inhibit Americans from receiving retirement security advice they need..... Read more...

January 04, 2016

Labor proposal limits choice: Opposing view

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Case against State-Run Retirement Plans for Private Sector The following Op Ed was originally published in USA Today on December 27, 2015.

 Saving for retirement should be easy, not hard. Unfortunately, a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposal could make saving for retirement more difficult and costly, particularly for smaller investors.

The financial services industry has long supported enhancing the already extensive regulation of financial advice through the establishment of a uniform, best-interest standard for brokers and advisers providing retail advice, including congressional action in 2010 to have the Securities and Exchange Commission take the lead. Congress made clear that the standard should both protect investors and investor choice. Unfortunately, the DOL’s proposal runs counter to what Congress intended, and if enacted, it will limit advice and restrict choice.

Read full article on

December 23, 2015

The 2016 Economic Outlook: Slow but steady wins the race

By Kyle Brandon

SIFMA’s Economic Advisory Roundtable is composed of chief U.S. economists from 19 SIFMA member firms. Twice per year, the Roundtable publishes the results of a detailed survey on the U.S. economic outlook and rates forecasts.

This December, the Roundtable released its “US Economic Outlook End-Year 2015,” forecasting that the U.S. economy will grow at a solid 2.5% rate both this year and next. The following is a Q&A with Kyle Brandon, Managing Director and Director of Research for SIFMA and staff advisor to the Economic Advisory Roundtable.

 ....

December 17, 2015

Supporting the Pre-Eminence of American Capital Markets

SIFMA held its annual State of the Industry media briefing on December 3, 2015 in NYC. In this examination of the state of America’s capital markets, we discussed the need to achieve a regulatory balance that ensures our capital markets remain the most deep, liquid and well-functioning in the world. 

By John F. W. Rogers and Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

The State of U.S. Capital Markets

The U.S. has actively promoted a free market system around the world through public policy and private sector expansion, asserting capitalism as a catalyst for innovation, opportunity and dynamism. Innovation coupled with the free flow of capital has been an integral component for promoting the good-and-welfare, supporting job creation, economic development and prosperity..... Read more...

November 18, 2015

The Investor of Tomorrow

By Randy Snook

Mary MackThere's little question that the forces of technology, interconnectedness and generational change have challenged the conventional wisdom about investors and financial advice. But how should institutions go about investing in new capabilities in a way that complements and supports their business's traditional strengths?

As participants at SIFMA's 2015 Annual Meeting, The Capital Markets Conference, were quick to point out, digital disruption has left no shortage of industries to look toward as case studies. "If you think about the way we behave in every other part of our lives: Amazon is the largest retailer in the world; Uber is the largest transportation company," said Wells Fargo Advisors president Mary Mack. "We behave differently now in terms of how we like to access information and advice.".... Read more...

November 16, 2015

Economists at SIFMA’s Annual Meeting Preach “Cautious Optimism” About US Growth

By Kyle Brandon and Peter Matheson 

Annual Meeting panel - Econ 250Economic news from abroad has made headlines on a regular basis during the past few years. From concerns about Greek solvency, the summer's slowdown in China and weakness in emerging markets to the discussion of trade deals as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the interconnectedness of the global economy is apparent.

At SIFMA's 2015 Annual Meeting, The Capital Markets Conference, participants discussed both the short- and long-term implications of an increasingly globalized world for investors and public officials alike.

A panel bringing together chief economists from several prominent institutions focused heavily on the immediate question of the U.S. economy's resilience. "We're living in a bounded and divergent world," said JPMorgan Chase Chief Economist Bruce Kasman, noting that continued improvement in the U.S. and Western Europe was largely offsetting struggles in emerging markets. "There are risks here, but I think what we're seeing so far is that we're not breaking out of that bounded environment.".... Read more...

November 12, 2015

Lawmakers: Department of Labor Should Work with SEC, Reconsider Risky Fiduciary Rule Proposal

 By Lisa Bleier

Hill and ScottAt SIFMA's 2015 Annual Meeting, The Capital Markets Conference, Democratic and Republican House lawmakers reiterated bipartisan concerns about the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule, urging that the agency work along with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

"Dodd-Frank gave the SEC the responsibility to do this. That was five years ago. They've done their study. I bet they have a draft proposal -- they should have put it out and not let Labor get over and pre-empt their territory," Rep. French Hill (R-AR) said on Tuesday.

Both Hill and Rep. David Scott (D-GA) emphasized that the Dodd-Frank legislation designated the SEC specifically for this task. In fact, Scott recalled anticipating this issue while working on the reform act..... Read more...

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