Tahoe Market Pulse: What will President Trump mean for the financial industry?

David Vomund
Market Pulse

Donald Trump’s surprising victory, along with Republican control of congress, will lead to big changes in the highly regulated financial industry. He has promised to remove many regulations, but which and how? We will soon find out.

We’ve written a lot about the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, under which brokers will be required to act in the best interest of their clients. This goes into effect in April and there are already big changes as a result.

Merrill Lynch announced that their brokers will no longer receive commissions on new retirement accounts. Other firms are gearing up for this regulation. But will this rule even happen? A Trump adviser, Anthony Scaramucci, promises to repeal the rule, but it will take time and effort.

One option they may consider is to undermine the rule by dropping its defense in several lawsuits that are underway. The Trump administration could effectively end this regulation by not backing it in the courts and simply agree with its opponents.

This puts the brokers at large firms in a wait-and-see mode while most independent advisers like myself are already governed under the fiduciary rule.

Another regulatory target might be the Dodd-Frank Act, which become law after the 2008 financial crisis. Trump has criticized this act saying that it is the reason bank lending is so low.

At a minimum, they will reduce the regulatory burden for the smaller regional banks. For those banks complying with the law has been a large burden and they are not too big to fail.

Or the law will be “dismantled” as he promised in his campaign. Fed Chair Yellen disagrees. She recently said banks are safer and sounder because of this regulation.

Tax laws, both for individuals and corporations, are in play and they will benefit investors. For individual taxes, both Trump and House Speaker Ryan favor three income tax brackets (12%, 25%, and 33%) with a 20 percent tax on capital gains. Most everyone’s tax rates will fall.

President-elect Trump and his new administration will be very busy as they take office so we don’t know the priority they’ll place on these matters. But it is safe to say there will be less of a regulatory burden moving forward.

That, along with higher interest rates, is why financial stocks have been some of the strongest since the election.

David Vomund is an Incline Village-based fee-only money manager. Information is found at or by calling 775-832-8555. Clients hold the positions mentioned in this article. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial advisor before purchasing any security.

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