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.

October 22, 2014

There’s No ‘One Size Fits All’ Financial Advisor

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Fiduciary duty - handshakeI am writing in response to the New York Times article, entitled "Before the Advice, Check Out the Adviser," which ran in the Sunday, October 12, 2014 print edition.

The article operates under the premise that when it comes to choosing an investment professional, only a registered investment advisor (RIA), or fiduciary, can be trusted to provide sound, cost-effective service, and that any non-fiduciary professional or broker-dealer is simply subpar. The facts fail to bear this out..... Read more...

July 31, 2014

The Bond Buyer Op-Ed: Regulation of MAs - Bring it On

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Ken BentsenIn the following op-ed, originally published in The Bond Buyer, SIFMA's President and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr. comments on the regulation of municipal advisors.

 In light of the MSRB's dual mission to protect both municipal entities and investors, SIFMA urges the MSRB to interpret MSRB Rule G-17, effective immediately, to apply specific baseline provisions to municipal advisors. .... Read more...

July 29, 2014

The Hill OpEd: Path Forward For Equity Market Structure

 By Curt Bradbury and Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr.

Equity Market Structure In the following op-ed, originally published in The Hill's Congress Blog, Curt Bradbury, Chief Operating Officer, Stephens Inc. and Chairman of SIFMA's board-level Market Structure Task Force, and Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., SIFMA's President and CEO, share task force recommendations developed with the goal of enhancing transparency, providing fair and timely access to market data, and addressing the complexity and fragmentation caused by rebates and order types. 

The Security Industry and Financial Markets Association's (SIFMA) mission is to support a strong financial industry that facilitates investor opportunity, capital formation, job creation and economic growth, while building trust and confidence in the financial markets. Robust equity markets are vital to accomplishing these goals. Recent concerns of disparate treatment in the equity markets have threatened investor confidence in the stock market and must be addressed.

It's true that the U.S. has the deepest and most liquid stock market in the world. Over the past ten years, innovation, regulation and the resulting competition in the marketplace have caused spreads to tighten, transaction costs to decrease and execution speeds to increase. It is now much easier and more affordable for all investors to participate in the equity markets...Continue Reading >

Curt Bradbury
Chief Operating Officer
Stephens Inc.
And, Chairman of SIFMA's board-level Market Structure Task Force

Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.
President and CEO
SIFMA.... Read more...

July 14, 2014

NYT Dealbook OpEd: How to Improve Market Structure

By Curt Bradbury and Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr.

Arrows - Market StructureIn the following op-ed, originally published in the New York Times' DealBook, Curt Bradbury, Chief Operating Officer, Stephens Inc. and Chairman of SIFMA's board-level Market Structure Task Force, and Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., SIFMA's President and CEO, share task force recommendations developed with the goal of enhancing transparency, providing fair and timely access to market data, and addressing the complexity and fragmentation caused by rebates and order types.  

The United States has the deepest and most liquid stock market in the world. Over the last decade, regulation, technological advancements and competition have created an equity market structure that is easier to access and far more affordable for investors, including retail investors. The result is a strong market system that helps Americans achieve financial security and provides companies with access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

These same factors that have benefited investors – technology, regulation, and competition – have also led to a market structure that is increasingly complex and fragmented. Much of the focus has been on speed of trading, the product of technological innovation. And while the markets are most certainly not “rigged,” and unquestionably less expensive in terms of commissions and spreads, this complexity and fragmentation has resulted in disparate treatment that is undermining investor trust and confidence. Failure to address declining trust will ultimately undermine the market itself.



 .... Read more...

June 27, 2014

SIFMA’s Views on the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Proposal

By Lisa Bleier

DOL, Fiduciary, ERISA, RetirementWe offer the following as a clarification a clarification and reiteration of SIFMA's views on the Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal, offered in response to recent mischaracterizations of our views. 

The DOL's proposal would convert virtually anyone who speaks to a retirement investor into a "fiduciary," subject to a costly and complicated regulatory regime that was never intended to apply so broadly.  Everyday Americans trying to save for retirement would lose their ability to decide whether to work with, and pay for, a fiduciary investment adviser.  Instead, if they wanted to continue to be able to talk to their brokers, they would have no choice but to move to higher cost fee-based advisory accounts.  The smallest investors, who could not afford higher fees, would be left on their own.

In the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress directed the SEC to review the standard of conduct applicable to all retail investors.  Consistent with this mandate, the SEC has undertaken a careful review that included a comprehensive "request for information."  We support the SEC's efforts, and we do not understand why the DOL wants to jump the gun by proposing its rule before the SEC has a chance to complete its work. .... Read more...

June 25, 2014

SIFMA Applauds Secretary Lew’s Commitment to a Global LEI

By David Strongin

LEIA global Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is one of the most critical methods available to ensure effective regulatory oversight of the financial markets. In testimony yesterday before the House Committee on Financial Services, U.S. Treasury Secretary and Chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) Jack Lew noted:

"There has also been progress in improving the standardization of certain financial data, including the legal entity identifier (LEI), which will help to identify parties to financial transactions. The widespread adoption of LEI both domestically and globally, together with the work to enhance the consistency and availability of swaps data reported by swaps data repositories, would improve the ability of regulators to monitor emerging risks in the financial system. The Council supports these efforts and recommends that member agencies and the OFR continue to work together to promote high-quality data standards and fill data gaps where they exist.".... Read more...

May 09, 2014

Helping American Investors Save for Retirement

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Ken BentsenIn the following op-ed, originally published in U.S. News, SIFMA’s President and CEO writes that a new proposal being drafted by the Department of Labor (DOL) could have an unintended negative impact that would make it harder for Americans to meet their retirement goals.

I am writing in response to Jim Lardner's May 6, 2014 op-ed entitled "When Salespeople Call Themselves Advisors" in order to address some of the misconceptions and inaccuracies regarding the industry's position.

When helping Americans save for retirement, investment professionals work hard every day to serve in their client's best interest. In return, their clients trust them to act on their behalf in a way that is suitable for their individual retirement needs. Each day, millions of Americans rely on broker-dealers to help them save for their future. Studies have shown that investors who work with an investment professional save more and are better prepared for retirement..... Read more...

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