Markets and polls are favoring Joe Biden to win the presidency, and markets think there are increasing odds that a blue sweep could occur. So if Democrats take over, what does the regulatory environment look like in wealth management? According to legal and policy experts there are a number of key changes. One big high-level difference between Trump and Biden is that Trump has always favored a principals-based approach to regulation in an effort to lower the compliance burden on companies. Biden would adopt a more rules-based approach with stricter enforcement. Here are five key items that would likely change under a new administration: restarting the debate on Reg BI (i.e. trying to get rid of it or modify it), move towards a rules-based approach in many areas, revive the CFPB, create a public credit reporting agency within the CFPB, and replace SEC commissioner Jay Clayton.
FINSUM: All of this makes perfect sense with what Democrats are signaling. We have another key item to add to the list—killing the new DOL proposal and replacing it with a more robust fiduciary standard either through the SEC or DOL.
Large cap value is a very interesting area at the moment. Over the last few weeks there has been a pickup in breadth, with gainers outpacing losers 2-to-1. Megacap tech stocks are not leading the market like they were early on in the recovery. That means the chances for broad market gains are looking stronger. With that in mind, large cap value looks like an excellent choice. Compared to small and midcaps, large caps are less volatile and more diversified. They do have more international exposure (which could be a positive or a negative), but on the whole they appear as though they have as much or more upside potential with less downside risk.
FINSUM: If you believe in a coming broad-based rally in stocks, then large cap value seems like a good place to be.
The yield environment is a terrible one for anyone who is seeking income from their investments, especially those in retirement who may be living on a fixed income. So where can investors seek strong domestic yields? Check out mortgage REITs. Mortgage REITs have long offered some of the highest yields in markets because of the leverage they utilize. Most of the group have yields over 10%. Look at the following names as an example: AGNC Investment Corp. (AGNC, yield 10.2%), Annaly Capital Management, Inc (NLY, 12.9%), Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (NH, 14%), and Armour Residential REIT (ARR, 12.3%).
FINSUM: So obviously mortgage REITs have significant interest rate risk, but can you imagine a period where interests rates seem less likely to rise?
The market has been increasingly betting that Biden is going to win the election, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty. The outcomes seem like almost diametrically opposed routes for the country, and accordingly it feels like many asset classes could head in opposite directions depending on the outcome. With that in mind, Savvas Savouri of ToscaFund Asset Management, has published a very interesting and clear diagram explaining how each asset class will react to either a Trump or Biden win (see above). The most interesting thing about this is how similar the response will be across several asset classes. For example, no matter who wins, it appears likely that commodities, gold, US domestic staples, and exporters will gain, while in either scenario, Treasuries, REITs, and the Dollar will lose.
FINSUM: This is an excellent diagram that gives a concise view on how things may change following either a Biden or Trump victory. Two things jump out to us here. Firstly, that tech shares look likely to lose if there is a blue wave; and secondly, that the Dollar is headed down in either outcome, so exporters are likely to do well. It is easy to imagine that a blue wave would result in a broad rally of the S&P 500 that is not led by tech.
When you think of oil, you don’t normally think of an industry that would gain from a big win by Democrats in an election. But as it happens, oil could very well gain if Democrats sweep the presidency and congress. The reason why is slightly perverse, but that makes it no less relevant. The concept is that Democrats would be bring new regulation around fracking; specifically, regulations that limit new drilling but allow existing projects. What this would mean is a steady rise in prices as inventory becomes constrained as the recovery proceeds. For example, Morgan Stanley is forecasting almost a 100% gain in natural gas prices next year.
FINSUM: Oil and gas are a physical supply and demand market, and if regulations keep supply in the ground, then prices will rise.