June 9, 2006

Growth and Taxes

Bigger crowd and Bob Dole attend Pershing annual conference

The Senate's failure on June 8 to approve a permanent repeal of the federal estate tax would not sit well with former Senator Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican who ran for President in 1996. Speaking at the Pershing Insite 2006 conference on the day Senate Republicans failed to achieve the 60 votes they needed to overcome any Democratic filibuster on the measure, Dole voiced his support for the measure. "Why do you have to pay taxes time and time and time again?" Dole rhetorically asked the 1,000 attendees in Hollywood, Florida. Dole went on to note that if "Bill Gates and the news anchors" want to pay more taxes they are welcome to do so, he said to much laughter, since in this country "we do have a voluntary system."

The Pershing conference brings together the broker/dealers who clear through Pershing and the RIAs who custody client assets at Pershing Advisor Solutions (PAS). John Iachello, a Pershing managing director who runs PAS, noted that PAS had seen 45% growth in assets from its 445 independent RIAs, to $47 billion, over the past year and a half, including trust assets. That growth was reflected in the number of independent RIAs and dually registered advisors who signed up for the various technology and practice management sessions at the conference--some 220, according to Pershing. Iachello said PAS and Pershing is "purely a service organization; we're agnostic on products and have no conflicts" of interest with its advisors since it does not have a retail advisory presence.

Brian Shea, Pershing's COO, reiterated Pershing parent Bank of New York's commitment to the advisor space, saying that for BNY, "this business is a core strategy." As for the clearing space, Shea suggested that more consolidation is likely, and that there "will be less than ten left within the next five years." He said Pershijng is gaining market share, but that "our customers expect more or need more from us day by day," and that the company is trying to be a good change management partner to our customers."

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