The Biden presidency: outlook for financial and related professional services

On Wednesday 24 February, we held a panel discussion on the Biden presidency to consider how the administration’s plans might influence the outlook for the financial and related professional services industry.

The session was moderated by Michael Cole-Fontayn, Chair of our US technical working group and Chair of AFME. The panellists were Randy Kroszner, Deputy Dean for Executive Programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Marjorie Chorlins, Senior Vice President, European Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce and Dr David Gordon, Senior Adviser for Geo-Economics and Strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Panellists discussed the impact of the new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on financial regulation, the Federal Reserve, and the implications for cross-border financial market competition. Panellists did not think there would be a deregulatory agenda, and interests rates were expected to remain low for some time. Participants agreed that the Treasury would look to engage more with international partners and would likely adopt a cautious approach to the use of financial innovation, focussing on ensuring that new technology would be used in a safe and equitable way.  

The discussion also focused on the priorities of both the Administration and the business community. Covid recovery, climate change, China and digital would be top of the agenda. It was thought that Trade Policy would not be a priority for the Administration, but there was still scope for a UK-US trade agreement to be concluded at some point. The US would also need to consider its strategy vis-à-vis China. Whereas the US was expected to keep a tough stance, it was thought that the two countries could find common ground in climate change policy. The Biden administration will also need to find ways in which to engage effectively and constructively with key partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region in order to counter the threat of China.

More broadly, the Administration’s decision-making would be centred around promoting the interests and welfare of the American worker – something that businesses would also need to factor into their operations and engagement with the Administration.