Advisers react to Hillary Clinton speech that takes aim at 'super-rich' and Wall Street

Some are cringing at the hint that wealthy citizens will need to pay more in taxes, yet most still plan to give her their vote

Jul 29, 2016 @ 11:03 am

By Liz Skinner and Mark Schoeff Jr.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton set forth a progressive agenda in her acceptance speech Thursday night that made some financial advisers wince, even though she'll still win many of their votes.

Becoming the first woman to lead a major presidential ticket, Ms. Clinton told the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that she would pay for programs that create jobs and make college tuition-free for the middle class by forcing Wall Street, corporations “and the super-rich” to pay their “fair share” of taxes.

“She called out Wall Street and wealthy individuals as potentially being more taxed,” said Blair duQuesnay, principal and chief investment officer at ThirtyNorth Investments. “That made me think, those are my clients who she's talking about.”

She hopes Ms. Clinton will try to generate more taxes through streamlining the tax code and incentivizing business to return to the United States, rather than just outright boosting tax rates for the wealthy.

(More: 10 sectors to watch when Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump become president)

Shon Anderson, president of Anderson Financial Strategies, said Ms. Clinton relied too much on liberal policy prescriptions, such as raising the minimum wage and taxing the rich. The approach mentioned in her speech will harm the economy, he said.

“It had every Democratic tag-line wrapped up in it,” Mr. Anderson said. “She lacks even a rudimentary understanding of economics.”

He also worries that her plan to pass “the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II” during her first 100 days would increase the federal deficit, a topic Ms. Clinton did not mention once during her hour-long speech.

“We know all that means borrowing and spending money,” he said.

But Judith Lu, managing director of Miracle Mile Advisors, praised Ms. Clinton's focus on job creation, because that is what will catalyze spending, corporate profits and hiring — all of which would benefit her clients.

“The only way you can grow your money in an equity market is in an economy that is growing,” Ms. Lu said.

Another adviser praised her for vowing to promote greater spending on the nation's infrastructure.

“That's the piece missing in our economy really taking off, especially since the financial crisis,” said Lisa A.K. Kirchenbauer, president of Omega Wealth Management.

In his acceptance speech last week, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledged to reduce corporate and personal taxes, as well as excessive regulations. He offered no specifics.

After Ms. Clinton's speech, several advisers said they worried about her criticism of the financial services industry.

“Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again,” Ms. Clinton said.

Mr. Anderson said such an attack isn't good for the investment advice sector.

“It points to an indictment of capitalism and it is very troubling for advisers and those who work in economics,” he said.

(More: Democratic platform draft includes financial transactions tax)

Some advisers thought Ms. Clinton helped her election prospects with her address.

In upstate New York, where Neal Solomon, managing director of WealthPro, is located, there's been a large decline in blue-collar manufacturing jobs. And that's caused people to gravitate toward Mr. Trump and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

“The speech was very well-crafted,” Mr. Solomon said. “There were lines she was using to attract the constituency that lined up behind Trump and lined up behind Sanders.”

More importantly, she may have started to appeal to those who are upset with the choices they will have this fall.

“Hillary may have presented herself as a more palatable choice,” he said.

Jay Gagne, president of Gagne Wealth Management, was another fan.

“I thought she was virtually flawless,” Mr. Gagne said. “It was a stark contrast from what we heard from Republicans last week. Hillary, in her speech, lifted America up.”

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