SIFMA Annual Meeting Shifts Focus, Location to Washington

By Stephen Joyce

Nov. 6 — For the first time since 2008, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association will hold its annual meeting in Washington, leaving New York and its capital markets for the city where those markets are regulated.

SIFMA's annual meeting, slated for Nov. 10, has been held in New York since the onset of the financial crisis. The move to Washington in 2015 recognizes the city's importance regarding financial market regulation, and the meeting's changed format—no keynote speeches, for example—will afford attendees with a livelier and informative experience, Kenneth Bentsen, SIFMA chief executive officer and president said.

“While New York is the center of the nation's capital markets, Washington is the center of the regulation of those capital markets,” Bentsen said.

“While New York is the center of the nation's capital markets, Washington is the center of the regulation of those capital markets,” Bentsen said. Additionally, about two-thirds of SIFMA's members are based outside New York, he told Bloomberg BNA in November.

“It's an opportunity for us not only to express views from various industry leaders on how they see the state of the capital markets and the securities industry, but also to hear from our principal regulators,” Bentsen said. Financial policymakers, federal regulators and government staff also are more likely to attend a Washington meeting, Bentsen said.

Interviews With Lew, Massad, White

Instead of giving formal keynote addresses, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Timothy Massad will participate in one-on-one interviews with financial leaders and reporters. Leading financial executives, including Wells Fargo Advisors LLC president Mary Mack and Paul Reilly, Raymond James Financial Inc. chief executive officer, will also be interviewed.

“Speeches are great, but I think the audience likes the back and forth” interviews may allow, Bentsen said.

In a bid to offer attendees more program choices, the conference will include concurrent, smaller break-out sessions on specific topics: a session with regulators from the United Kingdom, European Commission and Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions; a discussion with the chief economists at leading U.S. financial institutions and a cybersecurity panel featuring speakers from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Palo Alto, California-based Palantir Technologies Inc.

There also is a session on federal agency rulemaking. “Because there's so much rulemaking going on and there's all sorts of discussion about it—is it a good process, a bad process, could it be improved?—there's a lot of interest in having a panel on that,” Bentsen said.

State Issues

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) will address state financial issues such as municipal bond markets and state-run pension funds, and House Financial Services Committee members Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) will speak. “We're in Washington; it wouldn't be right if we didn't have a view from Capitol Hill,” said Bentsen, a Texas congressman from 1995 to 2003.

Sessions on financial advisers, private funds and other “buy-side” institutions are also scheduled. “It's a lot packed into one day but we think it gives a very strong overview of the various issues the industry and the nation are facing,” Bentsen said.

Committee Meetings

While the formal meeting lasts one day accompanied by an opening reception scheduled for Nov. 9, SIFMA will take advantage of the concentration of its members in Washington. More than 7,000 SIFMA members participate in about 100 different SIFMA committees, many of which will convene while association members are in the nation's capital.

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