The Financial Services Roundtable is the leading advocacy organization for America’s financial services industry. We are a CEO-led organization that engages senior executives throughout our member companies.
Modernizing Financial Regulation to Create Opportunity and Grow the Economy
FSR supports a financial regulatory system effectively tailored to grow the economy and create jobs, while protecting taxpayers and the consumers we serve. That means ensuring people have the opportunity to buy a home or send their children to college, insure against risks to their income or property, prepare for a secure, dignified retirement and have access to vibrant capital markets. Regulations should reflect these goals without stifling the willingness of individuals and businesses to make well-considered investments in America’s future.
Fixing a Broken Tax System
- FSR supports a simpler, fairer tax code that promotes economic growth, empowers consumers to have access to affordable retirement and insurance products, facilitates loans that finance homes and businesses, and encourages the issuance of and investment in corporate and municipal bonds that address our nation’s infrastructure needs.
- FSR will support positive reforms but also defend against changes that remove or reduce incentives that encourage savings for priorities such as education, retirement or capital formation for small businesses.
FSR will judge any tax reform against these standards:
- Does it encourage economic growth?
- Does it reduce corporate income tax rates?
- Does it reduce taxes on individuals?
- Does it encourage Americans to save for retirement?
- Does it reduce tax-driven economic distortions?
- Inefficient or duplicative regulation is a drag on the economy, stifles innovation and the resulting costs are ultimately paid by consumers.
- Removing arbitrary thresholds and basing regulatory standards on actual risk would reduce red tape and free-up resources to be deployed for activities that would help spur needed investment and job growth.
- Greater transparency and predictability in stress testing, the Comprehensive Capital Analysis Review process and resolution planning would also be beneficial to the economy. Enhancing the bankruptcy code to allow for the effective resolution of large, complex financial institutions would help protect taxpayers.
- The regulation of asset managers, brokerdealers, advisors, and products should be tailored to their unique structure, and should be led by regulators with capital markets expertise.
Protecting Consumers and Businesses from Cybersecurity Threats
- The financial sector leads all business sectors in efforts to combat cyber security threats. FSR leads collaborative efforts to make sure the sector is working together and working with the government and other sectors to ensure a well-coordinated team effort against cyber threats.
- The ever-expanding number of cybersecurity requirements for financial services firms, which often overlap and even conflict with each other, pose a security and operational risk.
- Cybersecurity regulations should be harmonized so attention and resources can be focused on ensuring our financial infrastructure is secure while fostering innovation and economic growth.
- Several breaches at regulatory agencies heighten the concern that expansive requirements to share sensitive information with regulators may expose firms to additional risk and liability.
Interchange “Durbin Amendment”
- FSR supports repealing the Durbin Amendment, which imposes federal government price controls on the processing of debit card purchases.
- This distortion of the free market has resulted in no discernable price reductions, as promised by merchants, for consumers while certain banking services, such as free checking and debit rewards, have been severely curtailed.
Supporting the Convergence of Finance and Technology and a Dynamic Payments System
- FSR members embrace the convergence of financial services and technology – FinTech – and are actively engaged in partnerships with technology providers to meet changing consumer expectations.
- FSR is committed to ensuring consumers remain confident in the payments ecosystem as existing and new, nonbank payment companies drive toward faster, more secure payments.
- This means ensuring all companies in the payments system – including banks, credit card companies, and merchants – have a duty to protect sensitive consumer information.
- The consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a major impact on consumers, financial institutions and the broader economy. However, the CFPB could better advance its mission by embracing more accountability and transparency. Needed reforms include granting Congress oversight over the CFPB budget and creating a board to make key decisions rather than have them made by a single individual.
- Many financial regulatory agencies, such as the FDIC, SEC, Federal Reserve and Commodity Futures Trading Commission have boards that govern their actions rather than single directors. This ensures no single person can dictate the outcome of any decision. It also ensures decisions are made not on a rigidly partisan or ideological basis, but rather as the result of consultation, and often, consensus.
- The CFPB should be held to the same transparency requirements as other federal agencies, including by living up to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and Government in the Sunshine Act.
Personal Financial Security
- FSR supports expanding access to retirement savings for all by simplifying regulations that discourage small businesses from offering retirement savings plans to their employees.
- FSR supports a single best interest standard for personalized advice to consumers, regardless of the type of account involved. FSR seeks to replace the overly bureaucratic fiduciary rule issued by the Department of Labor with a best interest standard, led by the Securities and Exchange Commission, that involves less red tape and complexity.
- Policymakers are often tempted to pay for federal programs by decreasing retirement savings incentives. FSR believes the federal government should instead preserve and expand incentives for retirement and other savings.
- FSR supports targeted legislative and regulatory efforts designed to protect consumers, particularly older Americans, from losing their accumulated savings to financial fraud.
Re-Building our Housing Finance System
- Through The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, taxpayers covered $187 billion dollars in losses from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs), and the GSEs were placed into conservatorship.
- A transition from government conservatorship to a system that features more private capital is long overdue. The transition should preserve access to the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and protect taxpayers from any losses.
Protecting Our Homes from Floods
- FSR will promote the long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to create certainty in the marketplace and protect consumers from flood disasters.
- This reauthorization should increase the take-up rate, enhance the consumer experience and expand private sector offerings and consumer choice.
Protecting Innovation by Reforming the Patent System
- Too often non-practicing entities (NPEs), or “patent trolls,” purchase patents on the secondary market for the purpose of suing companies for infringement. They often target financial services companies—for example, suing banks for allowing their customers to use ATMs, claiming they own the patent on a piece of the technology. This not only harms the targeted company, but the economy as a whole.
- FSR advocates for patent reform that makes litigation more efficient and equitable, increases transparency and enhances patent quality.
Growing the US Economy and Creating Jobs through Exports
- FSR supports trade that is both free and fair, lowers barriers, drives economic investment, job creation, and increases access to affordable goods and services.
- As the Administration and Congress assess existing and future trade pacts, policies should reflect the unique nature of financial service companies’ capital, infrastructure and operational contributions in driving economic growth.
Reforming the Financial Stability Oversight Council
- The Dodd Frank Act created a new Council of regulators to keep an eye on the financial system.
- This Council has unfairly designated companies as “systemically important” under a fundamentally flawed process and with a lack of compelling evidence.
- The designation process has failed to adequately consider the role of primary financial regulators, resulting in duplicative regulation, massive costs and an unlevel playing field for impacted firms.
- FSR will work to reform the FSOC process to ensure that risks to the financial system are addressed, but that companies are not unfairly targeted and subject to duplicative and costly regulatory burdens that are unjustified by the facts.
Managing Risk Through a Vibrant Insurance Sector
- A thriving, stable, and competitive insurance sector ensures consumers and businesses of all sizes have access to insurance best suited to their unique needs.
- Certain insurance-related issues require a limited federal role—such as terrorism risk insurance, uniform registration standards and fair tax treatment. FSR will work to ensure the role of the federal government recognizes the industry’s unique structure and business standards.
FSR’s technology policy division BITS’ 2017 priorities include:
- Cybersecurity Regulatory Harmonization
- Cyber Incident Response: Implement Lessons Learned from Exercises and Incidents
- Invest Further in Financial Services-Supporting Infrastructure and Risk-Based Cyber R&D
- Development of International Cyber Norms and Bilateral Treaties for Cyber Criminal Extraditions
- Create a Constructive Policy Environment for Blockchain Development and Implementation
- Workforce Development of Cybersecurity
- Emerging Technologies
FSR’s Housing Policy Council’s (HPC) 2017 priorities include:
- Housing Finance Reform
- FHFA/GSE Policies and Reforms
- Mortgage Regulation and Legislation
- FHA Reform
- Innovation and Technology
- Military Consumer Lending and Veterans Affairs