With the upcoming elections, many financial institutions have been preparing themselves for the inevitable monetary repercussions. Of particular interest is the recent news on shadow banking. The name should not deter the layman from knowing more about it. This is a financial topic that is relatively easy to understand. Detailed below are some concepts to be recognized.
It was coined in 2007: Shadow banks were termed by Paul McCully of PIMCO, a bond fund company, to define any financial vehicle operated by banks that sells loans as bonds. It has evolved today to cover any type of financial intermediaries that offer bank-like transactions but may or may not be regulated by official boards. This includes any form of pawnshop, peer-to-peer lending, hedge forms, or even bond-trading platforms formed by technology firms.
It’s a booming business: Unlike traditional financial institutions, these non-regulated groups have been growing. This is also attributed also to the low interest rates provided for by these companies. In 2014, it was estimated that the informal lending sector amassed assets worth more than US $80 trillion – a number that is expected to double in the next few years.
There is a move to regulate it: Shadow banking is now hitting the headlines because regulators are now becoming aware of this new financial order. Conventional banking systems are taking the hit; a condition further exacerbated by global regulations to keep strict lending protocols. Local authorities are now determining the need for leverage limits on different types of shadow banks in America and Europe.
The business of shadow banking is a hot issue among the presidential candidates and many Americans are curious as to what their candidate will do regarding this situation.
The 2013 Martin Scorsese biographical black comedy crime film, The Wolf of Wall Street, was one of the top movies that year, receiving positive reviews and various awards and nominations.
Its story, which recounts the Wall Street career of former stockbroker Jordan Belfort during the late 1980s to early 1990s, is a cautionary tale of how important it is to build and manage wealth the right way – else, one would be paying for it to the full extent of the law.
Some financial, and moral, lessons that can be gained from the film are the following:
Paying one’s dues
The idiom “There is no shortcut to success,” is demonstrated in the movie when it shows how low some people can get just to accumulate wealth fast. Belfort and his associates founded Stratton Oakmont, a faux organization, which they used to defraud investors and conduct scams. It helped them amass wealth for a while, but it was ultimately branded as illegitimate by federal prosecutors and SEC officials.
Ethical behavior matters
There are many perfectly legal schemes, such as selling penny stocks, lack of transparency and opening offshore accounts using other people’s identities, that are deemed unethical; doing so is a recipe for disaster.
Keeping both feet on the ground
Success can easily get into someone’s head and without proper management of wealth, losing it is not a farfetched reality, just like when the film’s main character spiraled into a world of drug use, debauchery, and insane purchases.
Steve Sorensen here, a Certified Public Accountant and financial consultant who provides individuals and businesses advices related to investments, banking, loans, and even issues such as employee embezzlement. Learn more about his work by perusing this LinkedIn page.
The coming national elections have everyone speculating about the future of the U.S. economy, especially following Brexit and the increasingly low-interest rates. In an in-depth article, the New York Times has listed some of the good and the bad aspects of our economy. On the positive note, GDP is growing better than it looks, with a 2.4-percent increase not including inventories. Consumption expenditures also increased by 4.2 percent and contributed to a 3.1-percent rise in retail sales.
According to Jim O’ Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, the employment growth remains strong, with 255,000 new jobs created in July alone. This has made the unemployment rate steady at 4.9 percent. So far, more than 1.3 million jobs were added, and wages grew up by 2.6 percent compared to 2.2 percent in the same period from last year.
However, despite these strong numbers, the economic growth is still deemed to be slow as compared to what the situation was like prior to the 2008 global financial recession. There is a decline in business spending, especially in energy exploration, because of the drop in prices of oil and natural gas. This is seen as one of the key reasons growth is relatively slow. Worker productivity is also not that remarkable, marking a sharp blow to the country’s long-term prosperity.
In response, Professor John B. Taylor at Stanford University believes that a better-looking economy can be achieved by adopting policy reforms. Among his proposals were lower tax rates, free trade agreements, and regulatory reforms. Taylor believes that the economy is at the bottom of the recession and is ready for a restart.
As a finance professional, I provide a wide range of advice to clients of all economic backgrounds and on issues ranging from accounting and economics to employee embezzlement and retirement planning. To know more, follow me on Twitter. Steve Sorensen here.