As we head into the election, the Stock Market is taking the presidential squaring-off in stride. Investors are sitting pretty. We are in the middle of the second-longest bull market in history and interest rates, which remain at historic lows, have helped keep the bond market healthy, too. Here’s how the candidates stand on some key policies affecting investors.
Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010, which put new regulations and accountability in place to govern financial institutions, was a direct product of the financial crisis of 2008. Trump is in favor of scrapping, or significantly changing, Dodd-Frank. At the July convention, where Trump received the nomination for president, the Republican Party called for the repeal of both the Dodd-Frank legislation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – which was created by Dodd-Frank. Afterwards, Trump released his economic plan, which made no mention of Dodd-Frank but promised to “cut regulations massively” if elected. He did not specify which regulations these were when he announced this.
Hillary Clinton has praised Dodd-Frank publicly, and her platform includes expanding legislation to include less well-regulated aspects of the financial industry – specifically the hedge funds and big insurance companies. Her plan includes a proposal to levy a “risk fee” on the larger banks over and above the higher capital requirements that have been put in place since 2010. Her proposals also include measures to tighten rules that stop banks from “betting” with money covered by taxpayer-funded insurance; a revamping of capital-gains taxes, and new rules to curb Wall Street pay. Most particularly, she wants to make individual bankers pay a portion of fines levied on their organizations and extend the statute of limitations on prosecuting financial wrongdoing.
Wall Street Relationships
Both candidates have had significant dealings with Wall Street in the past. Proud of his reputation as a maverick, Trump announced that Wall Street was not funding his run for president. In truth, Trump’s complicated business relationships with Wall Street banks did not survive the ’90s. Since this time, his primary financial bankers have been Deutsche Bank.
After he secured the presidential nomination, big name U.S. financiers like Carl Icahn, John Paulson and Stephen Feinberg became associated with his campaign.
Hillary Clinton has strong ties to Wall Street following the tradition established by her husband, President Bill Clinton, who made the Democratic Party more finance-friendly during his tenure. In the past, she has been criticized for accepting generous speaker fees from Goldman Sachs by Republicans and Democrats. However, she has taken Wall Street to task frequently and criticized the short-term perspective of activist investors whose policies she believes are “bad for wages and bad for our economy.” Some Democrats have flagged as problem issues the bipartisan policy of relying on Wall Street veterans to take on major public sector financial and economic positions, and Wall Street firms paying large bonuses to executives who leave for prominent government jobs.
Hedge Fund Managers’ Tax Loophole
Both presidential candidates have taken aim at asset managers who take their pay in the form of “carried interest” or a share of partnership profits rather than as salary or year-end bonuses. This allows fund managers to have their income taxed as capital gains with the lower top rate of 23.8 percent – much less than the top income tax rate of 39.6 percent. Clinton is in favor of eliminating the “carried interest” option. Trump has said the same, but his plan to cut taxes on “business income” to 15 percent might result in hedge-fund managers paying less taxes than they do under the “carried interest” option.