Displaying items by tag: warren
Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, the ongoing “reporting issue” with the Iowa Caucus is highly embarrassing. Democrats were unable to report a winner after voting closed last night because of irregularities in reporting. The party’s new app, which voters and reporting areas used, did not fail. Nonetheless, there were inconsistencies and reporting issues (e.g. phone lines were down). Candidates were unable to comment on their success or failure, save Pete Buttigieg, who declared victory.
FINSUM: Trump jumped all over this, as one would expect. It does not look good for Democratic competence to have a big screw-up on their first trip out of the gate in 2020.
Elizabeth Warren, top Democrat in the running for the presidency, has been looming over the wealth management sector for months. She has staunchly consumer-protectionist leanings, but yesterday she made very apparent how she feels about forthcoming regulation in wealth management. Warren wrote a letter to DOL Chief Scalia warning him about the forthcoming DOL rule. “Given your past statements that the fiduciary rule ‘is a matter that ought to be addressed by the SEC,’ I am concerned that the DOL may simply copy the wholly inadequate standards of conduct framework developed by the [SEC] in its recently-finalized Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI)”, she said, continuing “Americans’ savings should never be willfully compromised by conflicted actors operating under anemic rules — but they are … broker-dealers to give clients advice that is not in their best interest”.
FINSUM: Usually one would argue that politicians don’t know much about the ins and outs of wealth management, but Warren knows much more than usual given her background with the CFP. That makes her a very significant opponent for the industry.
Whether or not you are a supporter of Elizabeth Warren and her aggressive tax plans, one has to worry about the recent arithmetic that is coming out of her campaign. In particular, what is emerging is that many wealthy Americans would have tax rates over 100%. In many cases they would be as high as 158%. The reason why is a combination of the tax rates Warren favors, but critically, also her goal to tax unrealized gains. That means taxes would need to be paid in cash on investments that have not realized cash gains.
FINSUM: In our view, this is little more than divisive and punitive, not to mention rife with bad logic that will create unintended consequences. We are not in principle against the idea of some moderate level of redistribution to help strengthen the country and economy, but this is highly unfair.
Yes, you read the headline correctly. The original DOL rule—the one vacated by the courts in 2018—is seeing new life breathed into it. We are not talking about the DOL Rule 2.0 effort being led by Scalia and company at the DOL, we are talking about the Obama era proposal. So who is bringing the new rule back, or at least proposing to do so—Elizabeth Warren. In a little covered policy release earlier this month, Warren vowed she would restore the Fiduciary Rule (1.0). She wanted to bring back “The Labor Department’s fiduciary rule that the Trump administration delayed and failed to defend in court, so that brokers can’t cheat workers out of their retirement savings”.
FINSUM: Add this to the long list of CFPB-oriented measures Warren wants to enact if she wins the election. On a separate note, it is very annoying how politicians so casually call all brokers cheaters when it is really a small sample of bad actors.
Warren and Sanders’ tax plans have been scaring those on the right for several months, especially as Warren has risen to become the dominant candidate for the Democratic bid. But how much of a negative effect might her plans have on the market? The answer is probably not much, and if anything, it will be bullish for risk assets. Firstly, Warren’s plan will only touch the top 75,000 households in the country, so it is a niche focus. But secondly, because of the taxes imposed, ultra high net-worth families will need to be more aggressive in their asset allocation in order to continue to grow their wealth, meaning they will likely put more capital into risk-on investments.
FINSUM: This was quite a useful insight. It is hard to imagine Warren’s wealth tax being good for the market, but the logic of this argument (from Barron’s) seems sound.