Displaying items by tag: election
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.
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.
There has been a big change of opinion for investors over the last two weeks or so. For almost all of this year, a Biden victory, and especially a blue sweep were seen as potential negatives for the economy vis-à-vis a Trump reelection. Any gains in the polls for Democrats was seen as a negative for the economic outlook, particularly because of the chance for higher taxes. However, the rising odds for a blue sweep have managed to assuage an even bigger fear for investors—a contested election that could drag on for months. Accordingly, gains in the polls for Democrats have seen rising markets. Goldman Sachs feels strongly enough to say this: “All else equal, a blue wave would likely prompt us to upgrade our [US economic growth] forecasts”.
FINSUM: We think there are two specific reasons perceptions have changed. Firstly, the decreased chances for a contested election (very arguable if that is actually true); and secondly, the odds for bigger stimulus and infrastructure packages, which would be positive for the economy.
Goldman Sachs is stressed about the election. In particular, they are concerned about what a contested outcome could mean for stock prices. Because of that, they think the debates which started this week have the potential to be an “important catalyst for investors to assess risks”. The debates have the possibility of swinging the election strongly one way or the other, which means they can be tipping points for investors. “One way to lower the odds of a contested outcome (that brings noise and volatility) is via a large margin of victory that cannot be undermined”. That said, according to the bank’s strategists, even a big win could have risks: “Although undoubtedly under the clean-sweep scenario there is the negative implications for risk assets to be considered, stemming from a Democratic legislative agenda including higher corporate taxes and increased capital-gains taxes”.
FINSUM: Goldman is making it abundantly clear that they think most paths for the market lead lower—likely until the end of the year. With Trump now having COVID, that makes uncertainty even higher.
Advisors need to start thinking about what the post-election tax landscape might look like for clients, especially high earners. The proposed Biden/Democratic tax package is even more stringent than many think, as when you diver deeper it becomes clear that the increases are quite extensive. One core element that is less understood is Biden’s Social Security Payroll tax of 12.4%, which applies to all income with no cap (all income between $137,000 and $400,000 would be taxed at the same level). Combining that with a raised federal tax rate of 39.6%, and state taxes means that some residents of high tax states could see punitive-levels. For example, in California, which has a 13.3% top tax rate, the total tax burden for high earners would be over 65%! Even in states without state taxes, income taxes could be 52%. Furthermore, Biden intends to eliminate capital gains tax rates for those who earn more than $1m, effectively doubling the capital gains tax rate.
FINSUM: There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is obvious. The good news is that because of the state of the economy and the need for fiscal stimulus, Democrats are unlikely to pass these measure until we re-reach full employment, which could be years.