To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone seems to talk about sequestration, but as far as our politicians in Washington, D.C., were concerned, too few were demonstratively moved to do anything about
As for financial advisors and their clients, what does sequestration mean for them? An excellent March 1 article by Kenneth Corbin for Financial Planning deals comprehensively with the subject. Here are excerpts in the first of two installments:
“Nowthat the March 1 deadline for Congress and the White House to reach a deficit-reduction agreement has lapsed, federal agencies must begin to absorb $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, but for financial advisors, it could be business as usual, at least for the time being.
” ‘Frankly, sequestration has not been a high-priority issue’,” said Neil Simon, vice president for government affairs at the Investment Adviser Association.
“The lack of urgency on the sequester can be attributed in part to the next in a series of looming fiscal deadlines coming on March 27, when the continuing resolution that is currently funding the operations of the federal government expires. The effects of a government shutdown, both practically and politically, would be much more severe than the cuts to domestic and military spending that the sequester will entail, potentially roiling securities and bond markets and inviting a downgrade of U.S. credit.
” ‘It strikes me that again in the short term there’s not going to be a direct impact on advisors. If this is not resolved by, let’s say March 27, then all bets are off’,” Simon said.
“It also remains unclear what impact the spending cuts will have on the economy, particularly if Congress moves to replace them retroactively with more targeted reductions. For some advisors, that makes the sequester essentially a non-event.
” ‘I don’t think you react to something like this from an investment-management standpoint or even a financial-planning standpoint’,” said David Henderson, principal of the Henderson Group, a Staunton, Va.-based financial-planning firm. ‘To do something you would have to predict the consequences’.
“Henderson’s advice to clients with concerns about the sequester? ‘”Sit tight, ignore the noise’.”