In the U.S., policy reform is “badly needed” in many areas, says the IIAC’s Ian Russell in his latest industry letter. There’s a need to overhaul healthcare as well as lower tax rates, he writes, and one goal is to achieve “significant and targeted financial and environmental deregulation.”
But the path to change will be rough, says Russell, due to consensus disintegrating. “Progress will likely be made on tax reform and the deregulation agenda, but the changes to policy will be limited, even with a Republican majority in the House and Senate,” he says.
In his letter, Russell writes about the IIAC Board of Director’s June meeting with U.S. senators, congressmen, financial executives and other experts. The purpose, he says, “was to understand the direction and focus of financial deregulation in the United States, and obtain ideas and perspectives helpful for the Canadian industry’s ongoing engagement with Canadian regulators.”
Here are his main takeaways:
Significant deregulation of financial markets may be in the cards. Despite what Russell calls “sweeping and complicated financial reforms put in place over the eight-year post-crisis period,” change may be coming. He refers to a June 2017 U.S. Department of the Treasury report that “sets out specific proposals revising rules and scaling back the Dodd-Frank provisions, yet avoiding the need for extensive legislative amendment.”
Also prepare for robust NAFTA renegotiations. There have been mixed signals about NAFTA. But Russell says that “one promising note was there has been an open and constructive dialogue between U.S. and Canadian officials on trade matters.” Based on talks with U.S. experts, he predicts “some incremental adjustments to the treaty, with the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) providing a useful template in areas like financial services.” Read: Trump ambassador Kelly Knight Craft to work on Canada-U.S. relations
Only modest corporate tax changes. Progress will be made on tax reform but any cuts “will fall far short of the comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax system envisioned by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Mean,” says Russell. Expect tax rates that are closer to 25% rather than as low as the promised 15%.