Speaking at the SIFMA Annual Meeting in Washington, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon highlighted the role of the financial services industry in his state.
“I think Missouri is understated and undervalued as a financial center,” he said. “We are a hub — a Midwest hub — the central part of the country’s hub of financial services. It’s a big part of our economy.”
Nixon noted that financial services were “a key part” of his economic plan for the future of the state, driving investment and bringing business leaders together. “We did have a lot of financial services people involved because we saw that as a great place to grow,” he said.
Following the financial crisis in 2008, after which Nixon became governor, the state didn’t suffer the same loss of confidence in financial services experienced in other states. With fewer foreclosures and bank failures, the relationship between the community and the industry has remained fairly strong, Nixon said.
“Our folks don’t see financial services – they see them as people who work with them who try to solve their problems and I think our community banking system continues to be strong,” he explained. He noted that people in Missouri value locally headquartered companies like Edward Jones and Scottrade.
“The companies in Missouri employ a lot of Missourians, are engaged in the communities throughout the state, are exceptionally involved as corporate citizens… I just don’t see the same ‘anti-financial services’ [sentiment] in Missouri,” he added.
Nixon also touted the state’s favorable regulatory environment in comparison to more complex federal regulations that followed in the wake of the financial crisis.
“People like having the regulation local. It’s less expensive. We’ve jumped up significantly in that regard,” he said. “Confidence in investment is very good in our state.”
Nixon lamented the cost and complexity of Dodd-Frank regulations at the federal level, saying that the state’s approach allows for “less transaction cost and more transaction power.”
He argued that lawmakers should definitely revisit federal regulations. “I would hope that the next Congress would not be afraid to come back and look at some of the issues on Dodd-Frank,” he said. “It’s not perfect and if you can make it better, you shouldn’t be afraid to make it better.”
Kimberly Chamberlain is Managing Director and Associate General Counsel with the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).