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.

April 08, 2015

Sneak Peek: OPS 2015 Kicks Off Monday in San Diego!

By Tom Price

OPs 2015 Sneak PeekFor 42 years, SIFMA's Annual Operations Conference & Exhibition has gathered broker-dealers and asset managers to discuss the evolution of operations and regulation in the industry.

As over 800 industry professionals convene in San Diego next week, a multitude of reforms and initiatives are either in progress, under review, or pending approval of a new rule. OPS 2015 will provide valuable information on what to expect in the year ahead, and the tools that are available to firms to prepare for the changing operational landscape and to manage operational risk.

This is a content-driven event with a packed program. I'll be hosting an in-depth breakout session on how the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) is fundamentally changing reporting requirements. Here's a sneak peek from my colleagues at SIFMA on some of the other topics that will be on the table for discussion:.... Read more...

March 19, 2015

SIFMA on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

By Kevin Carroll

Kevin CarrollOn March 17, 2015, the New York Times reported on a bill last year, in the prior Congress, that would have amended the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to allow servicemembers to avoid the enforceability of arbitration clauses.  The Times article cites SIFMA as opposed to the bill on the basis that servicemembers are not being harmed by arbitration clauses.

Here’s the rest of the story:  The SCRA is generally limited to contracts for rent, installment contracts, mortgages, liens, assignments, leases, and the like.  The bill, however, as originally drafted, could be read to ban arbitration clauses in any and all contracts entered into by a servicemember, and not just those enumerated in the SCRA.  While we do not believe....... Read more...

March 19, 2015

Q&A with John Taft: How Enlightened Finance Can Restore Faith in Capitalism

John Taft In his new book, A Force for Good, John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-U.S., invited more than 20 respected financial minds - selected for their expertise and fresh perspectives - to provide insights on a path forward for the industry, moving past the crisis of 2008. The book addresses fundamental questions about the financial system and introduces readers to the concept of "enlightened finance."

John Taft - Book - A Force for Good

Q: Why did you write A Force for Good? 
A: I hope to kick start a more constructive dialogue about what the financial sector needs to do to consistently contribute to positive social goals. Much of the narrative since the financial crisis has focused on looking backwards, pointing fingers, assigning blame, identifying villains and meting out punishments. That was an appropriate and necessary phase in our recovery. But now we need to change the conversation by looking forward, developing a road map for what still needs to be done to help position finance for the future. .... Read more...

March 18, 2015

Bringing the Stock Market to Life: BNY Mellon Invests It Forward

By Melanie Mortimer

Foundation students At a recent meeting in midtown Manhattan, five different  groups presented snapshots of their portfolios to a panel of BNY Mellon portfolio managers and analysts. After each presentation, the panelists queried the speakers on the rationale for their investment strategy, asking them to explain their research process and risk tolerance.  

Who were the presenters? They were seventh and eighth grade students from Franklin Middle School in New Jersey. The presentations were part of the Invest It Forward  program developed and launched in 2014 by the SIFMA Foundation. Invest It Forward is an industry-wide financial education and capital markets literacy campaign convening hundreds of financial firms committed to giving young Americans a solid understanding of the capital markets system and the invaluable tools to achieve their dreams..... Read more...

March 10, 2015

USA Today OpEd: Don't Make It Harder to Save for Retirement

By: Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

DOL - Don't Make It Harder to Save for RetirementIt's astonishing that the Labor Department would contemplate a regulation that would remove retirement choices.

The Obama administration is proposing a retirement rule that could restrict access to information, limit investor choice and raise costs on American families saving for retirement. 

This isn't about whether brokers and investment advisers should be subject to a fiduciary duty when doing the same thing. We agree with that. It's a question of whether the administration should proceed, irrespective of congressional intent and in conflict with regulators, with a rule that will ultimately make it harder to save.

DOL usa today quote

Most middle-class investors, including most IRA investors, choose more affordable, transaction-based brokerage accounts, as opposed to managed accounts, which are often more expensive because the client is seeking more services.

Financial firms provide both services to their clients, but the clients get to choose, based on what services they want to buy. Both types of accounts are already heavily regulated.

  Continue reading on .......

February 27, 2015

Barbara Roper's Factual Inaccuracy

By: Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr.

Red-Line 150x150 Barbara Roper’s recent blog post this past Tuesday entitled “Industry to DOL: (Don’t) Mind Your Business” is not factually accurate.

Roper asserts that my statement, “the brokerage industry is highly regulated by the SEC and FINRA, including with respect to retirement accounts" is “irrelevant and wrong” because the Department of Labor (DOL), not the SEC and FINRA, has exclusive rule-writing authority under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

We do not contest the DOL’s rule-writing authority. However, it is equally clear and unarguable that the SEC and FINRA have plenary authority and jurisdiction over all....... Read more...

February 23, 2015

ICYMI: Bentsen: Retirement Advice Regulation Would Hurt Savers

By: Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Ken BentsenKenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., President and CEO of SIFMA, joined Betty Liu on Bloomberg TV to discuss the proposed retirement advice regulation endorsed by the White House today. The following are key excerpts from the interview, "Proposed Broker Rules Ignore Existing Law, Bentsen Says."

The Proposed DOL Rule Will Limit Access To Education And Advice.  "Our concern with the Department of Labor's proposal has always been, in their previous proposal, that they would cut off access to education for investors, force them into higher-cost advisory accounts, which our members also provide but are services that people have said they don't want to buy. On the lower end of the scale, it would cut them off completely from any education or advice.".... Read more...

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