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.

July 14, 2017

The Hill: Modern-day NAFTA must account for modern financial services firms

By Peter Matheson

The following op-ed was published in The Hill on July 13, 2017. 

Free and fair trade agreements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), expand opportunities for American companies to compete in global markets. Through them, the Trump administration can meet its stated goals to increase exports, create American jobs and boost U.S. economic growth.

Trade agreements allow our nation's financial services firms to facilitate economic growth and development by broadening the range of vehicles for savings and investment, lowering the cost of capital for businesses and entrepreneurs and expanding the markets that customers in manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors can sell into. 

NAFTA already helps the U.S. benefit from its competitive advantage in financial services. We have a $4.3-billion surplus in financial services trade with Canada and a $1.1-billion surplus with Mexico, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  

Yet, the world has changed a lot since NAFTA was enacted in 1994. Since then, the financial services sector - like many other sectors - has integrated new technologies, offered better goods and services and complied with a regulatory regime that is constantly evolving. 

A NAFTA modernization can bring our current agreement fully into the 21st century. The U.S. Trade Representative set the negotiation clock ticking on May 18, with a 90-day notification to Congress, which would allow negotiations to begin this summer.  Continue reading ....... Read more...

June 29, 2017

Bentsen Discusses Stress Tests and Finreg on BloombergTV


Bentsen BloombergTV June 2017

For the first time since the Federal Reserve launched its stress tests seven years ago, all of America's largest banks have been cleared to release dividends to shareholders after passing the qualitative portion of the tests. Appearing on BloombergTV, SIFMA President and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. voiced the industry’s support of stress tests to ensure market stability but noted there could be more transparency and more efficient application in the process. "The burden of regulation is such that it can begin to tax the system... Are these rules doing what we want them to do?"

....

June 18, 2017

Getting It Right: Calibrating Regulation for Growth

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Ken-BPC-Photo-150Nearly ten years since the financial crisis, the United States economy has recovered more quickly than other jurisdictions due in large part to our robust capital markets and diversified banking system. Our banks are far better capitalized and markets more resilient, having absorbed hundreds of new regulations on top of an already extensive regulatory structure established over the course of the last century..... Read more...

June 13, 2017

Business Spending and US Fiscal Policy Slightly Weaken GDP Outlook

By Kyle Brandon

On Monday, SIFMA’s Economic Advisory Roundtable announced it slightly weakened its GDP outlook for 2017 to 2.1%. The following is a Q&A with Kyle Brandon, Managing Director, Director of Research and staff advisor to the Roundtable.

SIFMA's Economic Advisory Roundtable lowered its GDP forecast from 2.2% to 2.1%. Was there a significant change in its view?

The Roundtable's outlook is slightly weaker numerically speaking, but is essentially the same as our estimate this past December. As it did then, the Roundtable considers business confidence to be the most important factor impacting U.S. economic growth, followed by U.S. fiscal policy (of note, the Roundtable's estimate for business capital investment strengthened considerably from 2.7% to 4.4%). This time around, Federal Reserve interest rate actions were noted as a distant third factor, whereas private credit market conditions made the list in December..... Read more...

June 06, 2017

FA Viewpoint: Preventing Exploitation of Our Senior Clients

By Amy Daniels, Edward Jones

Financial advisors face many challenges, most routine, but a few that can be disturbing. High on this list is the growing financial exploitation of senior investors. I have seen it up-close in my practice, more than once, and I fear we will witness it many more times - unless we act. 

The Threat

How big a problem is this? Estimates suggest that nearly $3 billion per year (The MetLife Mature Market Institute, 2011) is being taken from our seniors in cases reported by newspapers and other media outlets, often by family members or con artists who do not care for or about these seniors - and yet only 1 in 44 cases is reported to authorities (National Adult Protective Services Association, 2016). .... Read more...

June 05, 2017

Hiding in Plain Sight: Age-Associated Cognitive Decline

By Dr. Angela Gutchess, Ph.D. 

Think about the times when you've commented on the superior mental feats of an older relative.  Or perhaps you've heard another person describe a senior citizen as "just as sharp as ever."  How accurate are these observations? What can hide cognitive declines, putting older adults at risk of financial exploitation?

There is substantial research documenting age-related cognitive declines. Although there are differences in ability levels and the rates at which individuals decline, everyone is expected to show some losses compared to their younger selves in fluid cognitive abilities. Fluid cognition includes effortful, in-the-moment mental actions, including memory, computations and speeded decisions. Such changes are typical of aging, rather than being hallmarks of dementia or other disorders. .... Read more...

May 19, 2017

Future of Reg NMS is a top issue, experts say at SIFMA's Equity Market Structure Conference

By: T.R. Lazo  

218 tile  On Wednesday, April 26th, equity market structure professionals gathered in NYC for the Annual Equity Market Structure Conference, the one-stop resource for updates from the industry's leading experts on today's markets and the ever-evolving regulatory framework that guides them. 

The common subject across the six substantive sessions of the day was the future of Regulation National Market Structure (Reg NMS). Randy Snook, executive vice president at SIFMA, opened the conference telling participants that the future of Reg NMS is a top priority. "Equity markets have evolved considerably since Reg NMS was adopted. Now is a very appropriate time for the SEC to conduct a review," he said. "Ultimately, SIFMA's goal is to improve market resilience and ensure the equity market continues to benefit investors and play an essential role in capital formation. .... Read more...

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