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On Treasury and Finance Issues, Clinton Takes Tough Stances

  • By Ira Apfel
  • Published: 10/8/2015

HillaryFormer Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has begun to flesh out her policies on issues that treasury and finance professionals care about. The favorite to win the Democratic nomination for the 2016 general election is taking a tougher stance on financial institutions, which the industry would surely oppose. For corporate treasurers and finance chiefs, the bottom line is a Hillary Clinton presidency likely would mean more regulatory uncertainty as collateral damage while lawmakers and bankers slug it out.

Wall Street would face tougher laws

Clinton wants to prosecute financial services executives who break the law as well as further restrict risky behavior by big banks, an unnamed aide told Politico. “As she’s said, ‘Too Big to Fail is still too big a problem,’” the aide said.

Clinton also wants to increase funding for the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s important because the financial regulators complain that they are chronically underfunded, limiting their enforcement efforts as a result.

In crafting her vision for the financial system, Clinton consulted with former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), co-author of the controversial Dodd-Frank Act. Frank told Politico he has consulted with former AFP CTC Forum speaker Gary Gensler, who is the Clinton campaign’s chief financial officer and the former CFTC chairman who wrote many swaps and derivatives rules under Dodd-Frank. Gensler surely would be considered for a major financial regulatory role in a Clinton presidential administration.

FX manipulation not addressed

Clinton also came out against the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal between the United States and 11 nations along the Pacific Rim. What’s interesting to treasury and finance professionals is why she opposes the TPP – after saying that she supported it on many occasions in the past. The TPP, she noted, does not include language prohibiting countries from currency manipulation. Critics argue that currency manipulation costs American jobs, while treasury and finance professionals know that it potentially wreaks havoc on corporate earnings.
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