New academic analysis has found part of the full cost of the DOL rule on the financial sector. A group of academics analyzed the market cap movements of the top 30 brokerage and fund providers and found that, in aggregate, the DOL rule cost firms $14 bn of market cap. That figure does not include the money spent to prepare for the rule, just changes in share valuation that directly resulted form the rule. However, the same firms have since benefitted strongly from the so-called Trump Effect.
FINSUM: The DOL rule ended up being an enormous waste of time that in hindsight appears to have been doomed from the beginning. We will say that its lasting effect was to bring consciousness of fiduciary duty to the wider public.
By far the biggest focus of the recent tax package has been its limiting of SALT deductions to just $10,000. The current implementation of the rule was considered phase one by Republicans, with phase two—making the changes permanent—supposed to happen this fall. However, given how tight the congressional races are, including in high tax states like New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Illinois, many Republicans are now considering delaying the vote so that sitting representatives don’t have to take a stand on the package.
FINSUM: The SALT limits are wildly unpopular in many locations, and the Republicans are rightfully worried that pushing for making them permanent could cost them some seats. Will this eventually lead to the repeal of the rule?
Since the end of the Broker Protocol, it seems that many firms have shied away from recruiting. Especially at the senior level, but even at the junior level, firms have not been investing as much in recruiting. But that may be starting to change, as recent reports of increased recruiting activity have emerged, such as word today that Edward Jones is ramping it up. Edward Jones says it aims to hire 250 senior advisors from other firms this year. Additionally, there is some news out that Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch may be working on a so-called Broker Protocol 2.0.
FINSUM: This seems an encouraging sign on the recruiting front after a rough year. FYI Edward Jones is not part of the Broker Protocol.
The IRS just ended the best loophole in town for high income residents of high tax states like New York, California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Washington DC. Many high tax states had been working a loophole where residents could categorize their tax payments as charity donations, allowing them to deduct it from their taxes. However, the IRS has now closed that loophole effective today, meaning there is no way around the $10,000 SALT deduction limit.
FINSUM: It is no surprise home sales in the northeast are plummeting, as this is a serious economic issue for retaining the wealthy, and even upper middle class.
While some New Yorkers prepaid their property taxes last year in an effort to offset the decline of SALT deductions this year, others weren’t so proactive. Now that Washington has blocked states’ ability to work a loophole around classifying taxes as charitable giving, residents of high tax states may have a small window of opportunity—just 4 days—to avoid full taxes. The new regulations will take effect on August 27th, which means residents have until then to donate to the tax-charity funds which have been established.
FINSUM: Such last minute payments could be challenged after the fact, but considering the effective date of the new regulations, they seem like they would go through.
It looks like JP Morgan is trying to eat Schwab and Fidelity’s lunch, and the latter’s stock prices show it this week. The mega bank announced that it would offer free stock trading to its clients, allowing 100 free trades a year for most, and unlimited free trades for some. That is a huge change for a bank that formerly charged $24.95 per trade as late as last year. JP Morgan has 47 million online customers, who will now have free trading access. Reacting to the move, the VP of marketing for Interactive Brokers said “Banks and brokers that give away so-called free or cheap trades make their money by paying next to nothing on idle balances, executing trades at inferior prices, and charging exorbitant borrowing fees, which is costly to those that don't do their homework”.
FINSUM: That is a pretty sharp response from Interactive Brokers, and one that sounds true. Still, this is a sign of changing times where trading will soon become largely free.