Print Tech Insights 13: 1/3/12 – Predictions 2012

Compliance Technology:  Predictions 2012
-by Larry Goldfarb

A New Year!  There’s something about a new year that’s exciting and renewing.  How would you feel today if you knew what the world would look like on this coming year-end, December 31, 2012.  I would say most people would want to know.

Well, you’re in luck, because continue reading for some predictions that I believe will help you to better navigate 2012.

Politics. The GOP presidential primary season will effectively end in April with Romney as the nominee.  The general election will look a lot like the 2nd Bush election with Obama and his surrogates, “Swift Boating “ Romney until his own family begins to wonder who the ex-Massachusetts Governor really is.  The Christian Conservatives will, for the most part, sit this election out and Obama will be easily reelected.

Robert Wolf, the UBS fixed income stalwart and, according to the NY Times, Obama’s new best friend, will become Secretary of the Treasury.  Wolf, having never previoiusly worked at Goldman Sachs, will be appointed to their Board of Directors just prior to his appointment, thus continuing a streak of Goldman employees leading Treasury.

Economics. I hate to say it, but after 10 years of perceived success, the European Union will go the way of the great world empires and collapse.  After a brief bit of volatility, the markets will react positively and the S&P 500 will rise 15% by year end.  On the other hand, inflation will become a part of fabric in Europe with Greece, Italy and Spain leading the way.  The dollar will appreciate significantly which will be good news to US consumers.  Gas prices, in turn, will decline more than 25% with a barrel of oil sinking below $75 per barrel.  Employment levels will continue to grow as the unemployment rate drops below 8% by year’s end.

Regulation. The big news here is that Congress will allow SEC regulators to travel to Legal and Compliance conferences.  Almost as important, another scandal impacting Investment Advisers will compel Congress to appoint FINRA as the unified regulator for the financial industry.  A key proviso for FINRA taking the role as regulator is that Rick Ketchum, and for that matter Mary Shapiro, will not be permitted to read speeches in front of audiences.  Yes, no teleprompters or prepared statements.  All their addresses must either memorized or extemporaneously presented.  Finally, both regulators will admit that self-reporting has costs firms thousands in excessive fines, which prompts them to rethink the policy in 2013.

Technology. Much the same way that electronic signatures are generally accepted, Software–as-a-Service (“SaaS”) firms will receive the endorsement of regulators subject to certain reasonable conditions.  Larger, more expensive solutions will be replaced by lighter, cheaper alternatives.  Smaller firms will already have discovered SaaS, while larger, more complex banks and brokerages will begin to move in the SaaS direction.

In much the same way that Schwab purchased Compliance11, expect to see larger retail firms purchasing the remaining  SaaS “Employee Conflict of Interest” firms – e.g., Compliance Science, My Compliance Office, et al.  Larger technology firms will move into compliance in a large way owing to the trend toward SaaS – including firms like IBM, Oracle, Anderson Consulting, which will buy firms and move into the space.

Sports. NY sports will undergo a renaissance in 2012.  The Giants will surprise the critics and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl -perhaps more of a personal hope than a prediction.  The Rangers will win the Stanley Cup and order will be restored in baseball, as the Yankees claim the World Series.

2012 will be a great year!

And, as always, let me know what you’re looking for in the area of Compliance Technology.

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