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.

December 15, 2014

Expert Insights: The Outlook for the US Economy in 2015

Diane Swonk - Chair, Economic Advisory RoundtableSIFMA's Economic Advisory Roundtable is composed of chief U.S. economists from several SIFMA member firms. Twice per year, the Roundtable publishes the results of a detailed survey on the U.S. economic outlook and rates forecasts.

Yesterday, the Roundtable released its "U.S. End-Year 2014 Economic Outlook," forecasting that the U.S. economy will grow at a 2.3% rate in full-year 2014 and 3.0% in 2015. The following is a Q&A with Diane Swonk, Chief Economist for Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc. and Chair of the Economic Advisory Roundtable..... Read more...

December 10, 2014

The State of Our Industry

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Hearing - Testimony - ViewpointSIFMA held its annual State of the Industry media briefing on December 4, 2014 in NYC. In this review of the past year, we examined the role the capital markets play in the nation’s economic recovery; our efforts around cybersecurity, equity market structure reform, and preserving investor choice; and our policy agenda for the coming year.

How did the capital markets perform in 2014?
On the whole, 2014 was a good year for our industry and the clients we serve: our capital markets provided approximately 75% of financing for businesses in the U.S., and we matched retail and institutional investors with those sellers in the marketplace..... Read more...

December 09, 2014

Muni Markets: Let the Sun Shine In

By David Cohen

 Municipal BondsSIFMA believes that tremendous strides have been made in improving market transparency for retail investors over the past twenty years - yet for people who are familiar with the equities market that operates with a central exchange and constant trading activity, the municipal market may still seem opaque.  In fact, the municipal market operates differently-but those differences are not incomprehensible and they are not part of any deliberate plan to obscure the facts or impede the ability of investors to understand bonds or their pricing.  Continuing retail investor confidence in the municipal bond market that has financed four million miles of roads, half a million bridges, 16,000 airports and 900,000 miles of water pipes all across the country is critical.

First, the bond "market" is not the same as the stock "market".  There are several structural differences between the two.  There is no central place or exchange to sell or buy municipal bonds; the municipal market is a huge "over-the-counter" market consisting of a network of over 1,600 independent dealers across the country. The muni bond market is so vast that its size, which consists of approximately $3.7 trillion of outstanding bonds, is sometimes hard to imagine.  This year alone, state and local governments across the country have accessed over $215.4 billion in funding through the municipal bond markets..... Read more...

November 26, 2014

Mary Jo White Lays Out Next Steps for SEC and its Impact on Capital Markets

 By Ira Hammerman  

Mary Jo White - 150Conducting a comprehensive review of the equity market structure, enhancing fixed income markets and improving enforcement techniques are all priorities for the Securities and Exchange Commission this year, noted chair Mary Jo White in remarks to financial professionals at SIFMA's Annual Meeting

"The markets are the strongest and most reliable in the world," White said, "but that doesn't mean they can't be optimized. I stand for robust and resilient markets." 

Another high-level goal for the commission includes producing a system that increases disclosure effectiveness, and in turn is more useful to investors. Chair White acknowledged that technology should also work for the investor to increase pre-trade transparency and continually lower transaction costs. .... Read more...

November 26, 2014

With Renewed Focus, The Spotlight Shines On Municipal Bonds

By Leslie Norwood 

Muni bondsAmerica is built with bonds. 

According to the National League of Cities, three-quarters of all U.S. investment in infrastructure is accomplished with tax-exempt bonds. In the decade spanning 2003 and 2012, a total of about $3.2 trillion in infrastructure investment was secured through long-term municipal bonds, reports the National Association of Counties. Those investments made thousands of roads, bridges, airports, intercoastal waterways, dams, and water systems a reality for Americans across the country. 

The impressive size of this market demands that financial experts lend it careful consideration. At this year's SIFMA Annual Meeting, a panel of market and regulatory leaders came together to assess where the bond market stands, how it can be improved, and why this is one of the most important discussions in finance today. .... Read more...

November 26, 2014

David Rubenstein Talks Tricks to Investing Like a Billionaire

By Matt Nevins

 David RubensteinDavid Rubenstein knows how to make money. After all, it's his job. 

As co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager, Rubenstein helps clients invest more than $203 billion in total assets across 129 distinct funds, 11 industries and six continents. 

Having a hand in so many finances and industries, Rubenstein can identify signals in his work that reflect trends in the overall state of the economy - and the U.S. comes on top. 

"The U.S. economy is in reasonably good shape, with three percent growth this year," Rubenstein said at SIFMA's Annual Meeting. "Compared to Europe, we're in excellent shape. Inflation is under control and I don't think we'll see increases in interest rates." 

The world's most promising emerging markets ....

November 26, 2014

How The Capital Markets Help American Companies Succeed

By Project Invested

Project InvestedThe capital markets aren't only about ensuring returns for individual investors. 

In fact, the role that they play in making sure that American companies achieve their goals has never been more important. 

At this year's SIFMA Annual Meeting, a distinguished panel of commercial company chief financial officers and treasurers took the stage to discuss why market activity is so important to their organizations' missions. 

A stable market helps established corporations succeed.....

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