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.

February 09, 2017

The Hill: DOL Pending Fiduciary Rule Remains Flawed, Negatively Impacting the Marketplace

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. 

Ken BentsenThe following op-ed was published in The Hill February 9, 2017.

Over the last several days there has been a fair amount of chatter around the Department of Labor's pending fiduciary rule, which we believe could make retirement saving more difficult for many Americans.  I'd like to set the record straight. 

First, the industry has been working diligently over the past eighteen months to prepare to comply with the rule before it becomes applicable on April 10, 2017.  Our member firms have undertaken this effort not because we agree with the rule, either in whole or in part, but rather if it's the law, we comply. The industry will endeavor to undertake what its regulators task it to do, but that doesn't mean the rule is without flaws (it isn't), or that the implementation timeline wasn't realistic (it wasn't), or that the implementation timetable demanded by the rule won't have consequences (it will). Continue Reading....... Read more...

April 19, 2016

Financing Infrastructure: Why Public-Private Partnerships Matter

By: Michael Decker

After decades of underinvestment, we face an extreme infrastructure deficit in the United States. In order to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century and support a growing economy, we need to invest more in essential projects including highways, water and sewer systems, bridges, airports and more.

The problem we face is not a lack of capital - it is the ability to identify reliable funding sources to support debt service, to support return on capital and to support maintenance costs. In the coming years, there will be an increasing convergence of the Public-Private Partnership (P3) and Municipal markets to accomplish big infrastructure projects. The key regulatory issue before us today has therefore become the same availability of tax-exemption for P3 projects as traditional tax-exempt municipal investments. Simultaneously, we are exploring how we can make existing investment dollars go further. Innovative approaches like design-build enable us to do just that..... Read more...

December 23, 2015

The 2016 Economic Outlook: Slow but steady wins the race

By Kyle Brandon

SIFMA’s Economic Advisory Roundtable is composed of chief U.S. economists from 19 SIFMA member firms. Twice per year, the Roundtable publishes the results of a detailed survey on the U.S. economic outlook and rates forecasts.

This December, the Roundtable released its “US Economic Outlook End-Year 2015,” forecasting that the U.S. economy will grow at a solid 2.5% rate both this year and next. The following is a Q&A with Kyle Brandon, Managing Director and Director of Research for SIFMA and staff advisor to the Economic Advisory Roundtable.

 ....

November 26, 2014

The Impact of Investing in America

By Randy Snook

Annual 2014 BW The world of capital markets is changing. 

At SIFMA's Annual Meeting, a group of the world's most influential thinkers in the financial services industry came together to discuss the progress made to date, and identify the challenges that lie ahead. 

"There is a need for constant evolution of processes and goals," said Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA President and CEO. 

SIFMA's membership represents 80 percent of broker-dealer clients' assets under management, nearly 75 percent of U.S. financial advisors, and 50 percent of RIA assets under management. 

"That's a sizeable footprint," Bentsen said. "This broad collaboration across the membership enables SIFMA to speak authoritatively on a wide range of issues affecting retail and institutional capital markets." 

Critical contributions to economic recovery ....

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...

March 04, 2014

Holes in the Volcker Rule

By Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

Ken Bentsen The following oped appeared in The Hill.

The final Volcker Rule has been out for just over two months, and it has already raised a host of questions and concerns as firms comb through almost a thousand pages to interpret the complex rule and comply by the July 2015 deadline.

One of the greatest challenges with interpreting and implementing the Volcker Rule is the lack of statutory direction for ensuring coordination among the five regulators. The Dodd-Frank Act tasked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with writing the rule, but it did not task any one agency or the agencies collectively with the interpretation, examination, supervision or enforcement of the final regulation.  .... Read more...

October 18, 2013

2013 Annual Meeting: Invitation from Mr. Kenneth E. Bentsen

By Ken Bentsen

Ken Bentsen This is the second of a special two part post from SIFMA's senior management. Read the first post, a letter from SIFMA's CEO, former Senator Judd Gregg.

Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. was recently appointed as President of SIFMA, having previously served as Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy. Mr. Bentsen served as a Member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas from 1995 to 2003, where he sat on the Financial Services and Budget Committees. He has also served as President of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), Managing Director of Public Strategies, Inc., and an investment banker specializing in municipal and mortgage finance.

SIFMA announced new leadership in May; how are you working with Senator Gregg to achieve SIFMA's mission?

Senator Gregg is focused on rallying the public about the need for preserving efficient U.S. capital markets and cost-effective access to credit. My role continues to be placing SIFMA as a productive and substantive participant in the regulatory reform process. We provide regulators with information, studies and analysis to help them craft rules that work and create certainty. We have been in support of financial regulatory reform from the start, but the process is far from over. We will continue to be engaged on behalf of our members and the industry at large to strengthen our markets and restore faith and confidence in our financial system..... Read more...

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