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Industry Spotlight > RIAs

Is Crisis an Opportunity or Threat?

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I’ve been in this business for 40 years,” says Pershing LLC CEO Richard Brueckner, “and I’ve never been as enthusiastic about the industry.” At the opening general session of the 11th annual Pershing InSite conference in Hallandale, Florida, on June 3, Brueckner recalled the significant changes that have occurred in the industry since last year’s conference, and recounted Alan Greenspan saying last year at InSite that “we’re in the 7th inning” of the downturn, but also the former Fed chief’s warning that we be in a “26-inning game.” Brueckner told the 1,600 attendees and 114 exhibitors that Dr. Greenspan “couldn’t have been more right,” and that despite the encouraging performance of the market since early March, “it’s too soon to call the game.”

Brueckner thans noted a recent survey that found that 80% of investors are thinking about changing their advisors. “Is that,” he asked the advisors in the audience, “an opportunity or a threat?”

Brueckner said that many people now believe that the current downturn is “looking like a classic recession,” and observed that while the markets are starting to act more normally, “we’re not out of the woods yet,” because of the nation’s high level of debt, and that’s before the nation addresses the biggest issue on the financial and social horizon, the looming healthcare bill that’s coming due.

Brueckner says that Pershing does expect increased regulation, likely on the “Twin Peaks model” as expressed in the G30 report of last October, which called for a separation of regulatory responsibilities between a regulator that performs a “safety and soundness supervision function” and another that focuses on the conduct of business.

The systemic regulator, he suggested, is likely to be the Federal Reserve, acting as a coordinator of other regulators, and called for a new agencty that should consumers when they buy any financial products.

While Brueckner says he believed a universal fiduciary standard is on the horizon, he forecast that it “won’t be easy to implement,” and called on attendees to not “be a bystander in this process, but to weigh in” with industry associations and legislators, to ensure that whatever system is developed, that it be an “investor-centric” one.


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