SIFMA Issues Whitepaper on Need for Integrating U.S. Financial Services into U.S. International Economic Strategy

Washington, D.C., June 2, 2021 – SIFMA today issued a whitepaper titled “Financial Services and Main Street: Supporting American Economic Growth and U.S. Competitiveness.” The paper demonstrates the fundamental role the U.S. financial services industry plays in the U.S. economy and highlights that in an increasingly competitive global economy, it is vital that financial services are integrated into the U.S. international economic strategy.

“The U.S. financial services industry is fundamental to the growth of our economy. It is a major source of employment both in terms of jobs in the industry and the millions that are generated in other industries through the activities of financial institutions,” said Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., president and CEO of SIFMA. “At the same time, internationally, the industry is a major comparative advantage for the United States. This paper documents why that competitiveness, allied with the billions invested here by both overseas investors in U.S. capital markets and the broader operations of foreign financial institutions, are directly relevant to the success of the broader economy.”

The paper is structured across the following key themes:

  • The strength and resiliency of the U.S. capital markets and subsequently the U.S. financial services industry:
    • The United States continues to lead the global economy in financial services with our capital markets as the world’s largest, accounting for 41% of global equity and 40% of global fixed income markets; domestically they fund 72% of U.S. economic activity.
  • The impact financial services has domestically in the U.S. and across the globe:
    • In the U.S., the positive impact of finance multiplies and helps generate much more in terms of growth and jobs than the financial sector accounts for directly. For every job in the financial services industry, 3.6 jobs are created in the rest of the economy.
    • As for global impact, U.S. firms operating overseas raise the standards of financial services that contribute positively to financial stability and the local economy; they’re crucial in conveying U.S. values and business practices across the globe.
  • The role U.S. financial services has played in the economic recovery from COVID-19 and in tackling climate change:
    • Financial firms have led the huge increase in social bond issuance to help respond to COVID-19, raising funds for healthcare provision, nursing homes, and various forms of support to low income or unemployed groups.
    • In addition, the financial services industry will play a pivotal role in ensuring the future growth of our economy – and the international economy – is sustainable. The total size of the market for climate finance in 2018 (including mitigation and adaptation) was $600 billion, and the banking and capital markets sector has made strong commitments toward achieving ambitious climate goals.
  • The importance of integrating U.S. financial services into the U.S. international economic strategy:
    • Operating in international capital markets strengthens the diversification opportunities for U.S. investors and savers, and for foreign holders of U.S. capital – U.S. investors hold almost $13trn worth of foreign equities and bonds, and overseas investors hold almost the same in U.S. corporate securities.
    • At the same time, U.S. investment overseas has been reciprocated with significant growth in foreign investment into the U.S.-based industry: $760bn of foreign investment into the U.S. finance, banking, and insurance industry, which helps provide additional sources of capital for a wide range of businesses.

To learn more, read the full whitepaper here.


SIFMA is the leading trade association for broker-dealers, investment banks and asset managers operating in the U.S. and global capital markets. On behalf of our industry’s nearly 1 million employees, we advocate for legislation, regulation and business policy affecting retail and institutional investors, equity and fixed income markets and related products and services. We serve as an industry coordinating body to promote fair and orderly markets, informed regulatory compliance, and efficient market operations and resiliency. We also provide a forum for industry policy and professional development. SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA). For more information, visit