Financial Regulation

Time to Change the “Dual Mandate”

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

The Federal Reserve is coming under growing criticism for actions taken during and since the Great Recession. In light of the political acrimony which currently permeates Washington, DC, I am concerned that any decisions that will change the workings of the Federal Reserve could merely be politically motivated and not in the best interests of the public.… Read More

Only the Shadow Knows…

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

In 2012, I first shared my concerns about the rise in shadow banking. In fact, I listed shadow banking as one of the “gray swans” during my annual presentation at The SRI Conference that year.

The broad definition of “shadow banking” includes any bank-like activity undertaken by a firm not regulated as a bank.… Read More

Conflict Minerals Reporting: Cue the Applause!

By: Michael Schweibinz

Earlier this month, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals denied the suspension of the SEC conflict minerals reporting rule. The Court’s decision upholds section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

This Court decision eliminates any uncertainty that companies might have had about proper reporting.… Read More

Does High Frequency Trading Create Market Efficiency?

By Michael Schweibinz

High Frequency Trading (HFT) utilizes computer algorithms to move in and out of stock positions at extraordinarily high speeds. These algorithms identify market patterns and execute large volumes of security purchases and/or sales in milliseconds. Profits are generally counted in tenths of pennies per share; but it’s a volume business, and the pennies add up to big dollars.… Read More

Applause!!! Europe Requires Sustainable Reporting for Large Public Companies

By Michael Schweibinz

The European Parliament has passed a historic law that will require major businesses to include sustainability factors as part of their annual financial reports. By 2017, all publicly traded companies that employ over 500 workers will be required to abide by this new standard.… Read More

Why I Dislike Quantitative Easing?

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

In a previous blog I explained the Federal Reserve’s traditional tool of reducing the Fed Funds rate to stimulate a weak economy.  The stimulation impact is the result of the relationship between the Fed Funds rate and the Prime borrowing rate charged by banks for business and consumer loans. … Read More

Monetary Policy During the “Great Recession”

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the most severe economic decline since the Great Depression. The Great Recession, which started in 2007 and “ended” in 2009, was anything but typical as it relates to recessions of the past.… Read More

Lobbying Disclosure a Hot Topic in 2014

By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Institutional investors are once again requesting that companies disclose federal and state lobbying activity, including activities conducted through third parties such as trade organizations.

The campaign, organized by AFSCME and Walden Asset Management, has rapidly gained momentum over the past four years.… Read More

Major Banks Discontinue “Predatory” Loan Products

By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Last April in this leadership blog, we discussed concerns surrounding the development of high interest, high fee loan products by several major banks as they made their entry into the lucrative payday lending market.… Read More

Raising the Minimum Wage Makes Good Sense

By Mel Miller, Chief Economist

Now that Congress is back in session, the rhetoric will focus on some key initiatives. Raising the minimum wage will likely be a key political battle in 2014. There seems to be some hope that the two political parties can reach a compromise similar to one recently reached on the budget.… Read More