Tuesday, May 07, 2013

GMM Panelists Share Tips on Strengthening Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity gained prominence as a topic of discussion at ICI’s General Membership Meeting (GMM), held last week in Washington, DC. “Hugely important,” said Mary John Miller, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for domestic finance, in her GMM remarks. Likewise, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White told GMM attendees that addressing online vulnerabilities must be “a constant focus for both the regulators and the broader business community.” 

That focus also was on display May 3 at the Operations and Technology Conference, where a panel of technology experts explored the origins and implications of cyberattacks. Panelists also provided the audience with cybersecurity advice, including the following pointers.

1. Check Every Link in the Chain

“Any of your service providers could be attacked and could leak data,” said Stewart A. Baker, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Baker, who helped formulate U.S. cybersecurity policy as assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security and as general counsel of the National Security Agency, urged attendees to get assurances from all service providers about data security arrangements.

Panelist Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research, agreed that understanding the security of service providers was essential. “We’re only as strong as the weakest link,” she said.

Full story at ICI Viewpoints

Monday, May 06, 2013

Operations and Technology Leadership Roundtable

Superstorm Sandy and the April 15 terrorist attack in Boston rattled assumptions and recalibrated thinking about disaster management, agreed panelists at the Leadership Roundtable of ICI’s 2013 Operations and Technology Conference on May 2 in Washington.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned is that no two events are identical,” said Stephen C. Neff, Enterprise Chief Technology Officer at Fidelity Corporate Services. Fidelity, he noted, was forced by Sandy to take unprecedented steps, including sending a fuel tanker to aid employees hit by shortages in the wake of the storm. Neff said firms should prepare themselves by having “a set of building blocks” that can be configured in response to unfolding events.

Full story at ICI Viewpoints

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker: Lloyd C. Blankfein in Conversation with Paul Schott Stevens

If Lloyd Blankfein were in charge of the U.S. economy, what would he be most afraid of? Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, gave his answer in a conversation with ICI President and CEO Paul Schott Stevens at ICI’s General Membership Meeting.

“I’d be most afraid of the economy sliding back into a deflationary period,” said Blankfein, who has held the top job at Goldman Sachs since 2006. “In some ways, we are in a deflationary mindset.”

While saluting the Federal Reserve’s policies, Blankfein questioned whether its extraordinarily accommodative monetary approach in recent years can remain effective. “What’s the value at this point of taking mortgages down another 3 basis points?” he asked. “Is that going to make people do something they weren’t going to do before?”

Full Story at ICI Viewpoints

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

GMM Policy Forum

Addressing America’s fiscal challenges will require both raising revenue and cutting government spending, said Mary John Miller, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, at the Policy Forum of ICI’s 55th annual General Membership Meeting (GMM).

“I don’t think that we can balance the budget over the long term and meet the obligations that we have without some revenue,” said Miller, who made her remarks as part of a wide-ranging colloquy with ICI President and CEO Paul Schott Stevens. “When people come to talk to me about the Administration’s proposals, I say, ‘Look, everything has to be on the table’,” she added.

Full story at ICI Viewpoints.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Managing Chaos!

Actors dying on set, getting held up at a Chinese border crossings at cost of $500,000 per day, having filming disrupted by floods, sandstorms, snowstorms, and diarrhea outbreaks: George Lucas has seen it all.

“In the movie business,” he told the closing session of ICI’s 54th General Membership Meeting, “every day, something is going to go wrong.” Lucas, founder of Lucasfilm, Ltd., was interviewed by Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, ICI Governor and Chairman of ICI’s GMM Planning Committee.

Full story at ICI Viewpoints.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Managing Global Funds in Challenging Times

Immense opportunities lie ahead for global fund managers, agreed panelists at a session at ICI’s 54th General Membership Meeting.

“We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Vijay C. Advani, Executive Vice President, Global Advisory Services at Franklin Resources, Inc.  Advani, whose firm draws half of its flows from outside the United States, cited a recent survey predicting the population of individuals defined as middle class will increase from 1.5 billion currently to 5 billion by 2030.

Full story at ICI Viewpoints.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Scorecard: 2008 Beltway Stock Bets

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In 2008, this author wrote 20 stories serving up Washington-themed stock picks. The proposition behind them was that companies and their investors often benefit from activity inside the Beltway, be it procurement, favorable legislation and regulation or even just political developments.

This approach worked out well enough in 2006 and 2007. Not this year.

On average, stocks highlighted in our 2008 stories show a total return of -26%, using prices from the date of publication through market close on Dec. 8. Small consolation: That's three points better, leaving aside transaction costs, than the S&P 500 return of -29% during equivalent time periods.

Full story at Forbes.com