While it’s been a long time coming, it looks like EMV is finally headed for the U.S. market. In a recent Aite Group survey of 76 card security risk management executives, the majority of respondents said they believe that EMV will come to the United States sometime in the next five to 10 years. The survey also tracked emerging bullishness relative to EMV’s prospects. When Aite Group asked a similar population the same question in 2009, 36% believed that EMV would never make it to the United States. Today, only two years later, the portion that doubts EMV’s chances is down to 17%.
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Yes, the United States does have a Chief Technology Officer -- our first ever -- and after hearing Aneesh Chopra speak, one could easily conclude that President Obama created the position specifically for him. As noted on the White House website, "our mission is to assist the President in harnessing the power and potential of technology, data and innovation to transform the Nation's economy and improve the lives of everyday Americans." And that is exactly what he is doing.
This is my fourth Durbin Amendment blog posting since April 2011. Since the Federal Reserve Bank posted the rules, my fury over government price fixing has reached an all-time high. The concurrent political wrangling to sort through the U.S. budget and looming deficit has only compounded my fury. It is clear that elected officials are merely posturing to get re-elected or gain majority power in congress. This is just more evidence that no elected official is truly capable of taking the higher road when it comes to the state of the U.S. economy or our society as a whole.
On the heels of a disappointing earnings announcement, State Street on July 19 announced its intent to cut 850 jobs. This comes on the heels of similar announcements by Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. Meanwhile, people on Wall Street are quietly becoming accustomed to living on less money than they once did. One friend at the private bank unit of a bulge bracket bank recently estimated that most of his Manhattan colleagues are making 55% to 60% of what they used to. In the life insurance world, post-crisis retrenchment has been most visible in the exiting of carriers from product lines: Genworth and MetLife getting out of the long-term care business, and many smaller carriers exiting the variable annuity space as others raise fees and lower guarantees.
A customer arbitration case involving Merrill Lynch (see this Forbes blog post) highlights an important risk inherent in the traditional wirehouse model; the ability for financial advisors to run their own sales process and design their own investment products while using the wirehouse’s brand name to legitimize their practices. The risk presented by these portfolio-manufacturer types is that they are motivated to sell their own hand-crafted model of securities rather than other solutions that may be a better fit for their clients’ financial situation.