The September issue of Research magazine puts a prime focus on the upcoming election. In "Where Will They Steer Us?" Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute looks at the political and policy ramifications of Wall Street reform. Failing to hold Big Finance acccountable should be a vulnerability for President Obama, she argues, but to capitalize on it Mitt Romney must take a clear stand for ending Too Big To Fail.
In "A Bold New Direction," Senior Editor Kenneth Silber sketches out a radical tax overhaul that the winner of the election could use to address economic and fiscal problems and move beyond political deadlock. The proposed approach centers on replacing the income tax with an innovative type of consumption tax, the "X tax."
Other September highlights include: "Seeking High Performance With Low Risk," Prof. Michael Finke's analysis of how low-risk investments can have outsize returns; "Clearing's New Space," Jane Wollman Rusoff's report on the fast-changing clearing industry; and Bill Good's Sales Seminar column, "Cold Calling 2012."
Click through the following slides to preview the September issue of Research magazine.
Nicole Gelinas, contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, argues that proposals for economic policy will not get much traction unless they include plans to put a definitive end to Too Big To Fail. Many voters, she writes, remain "white-hot enraged" over Wall Street bailouts.
President Obama, in Gelinas' view, is vulnerable on the issue of financial reform, given shortcomings of the Dodd-Frank legislation. Mitt Romney's background in private equity, she contends, could become a selling point—if he shows he will draw on it to make Big Finance accountable.
"Romney’s best bet,' she writes, "is to embrace his past before it embraces him—and to promise that he’ll use his unique skills to ensure that markets subject Wall Street to the same medicine that the rest of America has taken in the past four decades."
Research Senior Editor Kenneth Silber offers some advice to the winner of the presidential election, focused on remaking the tax system.
The new president should seek to replace the income tax with a progressive consumption tax or "X tax," according to Silber. Such a tax, first theorized by the late economist David Bradford, has gotten renewed attention from policy analysts as a more efficient system that boosts incentives for saving and investing. In addition, Silber proposes replacing the payroll tax with a carbon tax, aimed at reducing climate risks and dependence on foreign oil.
The next president, Silber writes, "could be the man who got rid of the income tax and payroll tax, improving the nation’s economic and fiscal prospects while aiding the environment and national security in the process."
Prof. Michael Finke delves into recent research on the performance and potential of low-risk investments.
"The capital asset pricing model has suffered a few indignities of late, " he writes. "The most recent comes from a series of academic articles questioning whether beta—or the one moving part of the model that determines the expected return of risky assets—is doing a good job of predicting subsequent returns."
Finke expounds on the practical implications of such research. A careful focus on low-beta investments, he suggests, can offer returns that are greater than anticipated by conventional theory.
Contributing Editor Jane Wollman Rusoff looks at innovations in the clearing industry. In an environment of low interest rates and regulatory upheaval, the clearing firms that have the greatest prospects of success—and survival—are those that have the advantages of cutting-edge products and large-scale presence.
“It’s a tough business to be in and not for the faint of heart,” says Sanjiv Mirchandani, president of National Financial.
One growing focus is that clearing firms increasingly are trying to cater to the interests of the stream of advisors leaving the wirehouses to set up independent practices.
Sales Seminar columnist Bill Good asks readers to send him their cold calling scripts so as to get his feedback and further his research into what works and what doesn't.
Meanwhile, he looks at the current state of the art. One piece of advice: Start by focusing on people who are interested, rather than those who are decision-makers or qualified in terms of assets.
Another tip is use the "ABC" method in closing, with specific steps aimed at signifying action, benefit and commitment. Moreover: "Once you start a close, don’t stop talking until you finish the commitment question. This controls whether you get a big objection or a small objection. Most likely, you will get an objection after the close."