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 09, 2015

The Hill: A Note on Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

The following Op Ed was originally published in The Hill on October 9, 2015.

Network Cables A large-scale cyber attack is one of the most serious threats facing the financial system and the broader U.S. economy. While the probability of such an attack may be low, the impact would be quite large and is not to be ignored. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and a good time to take stock of what’s being done and could be done to enhance the financial services industry’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from a systemic attack that could impact consumers across the country. 

From criminals seeking financial gain, to nation states committing corporate espionage, to cyber terrorists seeking to dislocate markets and destroy confidence, cyber threat actors are becoming more sophisticated, making cybersecurity an area of risk that must be actively managed by firms similar to all other areas of risk. An active partnership between the industry and government grounded in robust information sharing is widely recognized as the most effective way to help mitigate these threats..... Read more...

October 07, 2015

The Neurology of Financial Decision-Making

By Natalie L. Denburg, PhD

Senior Investor - 158x150Conventional wisdom holds that aging is more or less synonymous with memory loss. So, it may surprise you that this post, written by a neuropsychologist about financial decision-making in older adults, does not include the term “memory” in its title.

One in five Americans aged 65 or older have been victimized by financial fraud, and yet the segment of the population with memory-related impairments, known as dementia, is only a fraction of this. How does a seasoned, articulate and educated professional without a diagnosis of dementia become convinced they won a foreign lottery they never entered? Or that they’ve inherited millions from a mysterious relative? .... Read more...

October 06, 2015

Labor Department Urged To Heed Constructive Ideas To Fix Fiduciary Proposal

By: Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., Dale E. Brown, Frank Keating, Dirk A. Kempthorne And Tim Pawlenty

The following Op Ed was originally published in Roll Call on October 5, 2015.

DOL, Fiduciary, ERISA, RetirementIs President Barack Obama's administration serious about considering feedback in response to its proposed regulation to change the way Americans, especially low- and moderate-income Americans, are informed and educated about retirement planning?

If so, why would it tell members of Congress that the draft regulation would not be re-proposed - even before public hearings were held or before all written comments were submitted before the Sept. 24 deadline?

Building a big table for discussion is a good idea. Discussions are the most meaningful if useful suggestions are considered and the dialogue is truly constructive. Before issuing a final regulation, the administration should take a fair, transparent and common-sense approach, make the substantive changes it claims it will, then issue a proposal that the public can review and comment on. Changes are sorely needed to avoid leaving low- and moderate-income Americans without the education and advice they want and need..... Read more...

August 11, 2015


By Dave Oxner

Cyber Vote CISA

Last week, Congress departed Washington for summer recess leaving critically important cybersecurity information-sharing legislation on their desks. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, otherwise known as S. 754, is a bipartisan measure which would provide the private sector with laws that will enable the private sector to better protect American consumers and businesses by sharing critical information about cyber attacks with each other, the government, law enforcement and other institutions.

....

August 06, 2015

The Case Against State-Run Retirement Plans for Private Sector Workers

By Marin Gibson

Case against State-Run Retirement Plans for Private Sector Americans are not saving enough for retirement. As a country, we all agree that we can and should do more to encourage savings and increase education on opportunities to invest. Fortunately, there are many options readily available, which is why it is surprising that some states are exploring the creation of their own costly and burdensome retirement savings plans for private sector workers. 

These state-run plans are based on the misguided notion that private sector retirement plans are inaccessible to most Americans.  The reality is that over 75% of full-time American workers have access to retirement plans through their workplace. For those that do not have an employer-sponsored plan, IRAs and individual annuities - as well as the new federal MyRA program - are available to anyone who wants them, and can be opened for little to no money. .... Read more...

July 21, 2015

ICYMI: Ken Bentsen Discusses DOL Proposal Flaws on BloombergTV

By: Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Ken BentsenKenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., president and CEO of SIFMA, joined BloombergTV's Market Makers to discuss SIFMA's comments on the Department of Labor's proposed retirement regulation. The following are key excerpts from the interview, "Why 'Best Interest' Standard May Not Be the Best for All" and ""Why SIFMA Opposes Labor Dept. 'Best Interest' Rule."

Yesterday, SIFMA submitted comments to the Department of Labor (DOL) in response to its proposed retirement regulation, stressing concerns that the proposed rule will harm investors by limiting access to financial guidance, reducing choice and ultimately raising the cost of saving for retirement. I joined Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker on BloombergTV to discuss three key points:.... Read more...

July 13, 2015

The Hill: The Department of Labor best-interest proposal isn’t about best interest

By: Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

DOL, Fiduciary, ERISA, RetirementMuch of the discussion around the Department of Labor’s recently proposed retirement regulation focuses on the question of a “best interest standard” for financial advisors providing guidance to IRA holders and employees who participate in 401k plans. But that’s not what the debate is really about.

The financial services industry has long advocated for such a best interest standard when providing personalized investment advice. Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act, with the industry’s support, authorized the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to develop such a standard. And FINRA, the congressional mandated self-regulatory organization that along with the SEC and the states regulates broker-dealers, has increasingly imposed such a standard through its rulemaking, guidance, examinations and arbitration policies.

In fact, the debate is not even about the language the DOL uses to define a best interest standard in its proposal. That in and of itself is something the industry and other regulators agree upon.

Rather, the debate is about the next several hundreds of pages of conditions and prescriptions the DOL proposes in addition to the best interest standard. These provisions both explicitly and implicitly limit the types of investments individuals may choose with their own money..... Read more...

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