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Policy Issues

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  • Bryce Arbour

    “My public policy interest and knowledge were probably the biggest reasons I landed interviews at several firms and eventually a position at BlackRock,” Bryce says. “Being able to discuss the minutiae of financial regulatory issues and the merits of different policy proposals showed firms that I had done my homework and was genuinely interested” in understanding all aspects of working in finance.

    A first-generation college student, Bryce Arbour has travelled far since leaving his hometown of Carson City, Nevada, to come to Penn. And he has explored widely, merging an interdisciplinary major at Penn with a semester abroad in Spain, another semester away in Washington, DC, and work experiences that allowed him to survey the intricacies and interconnectedness of finance and public policy.

    Bryce knew in high school that he wanted to study something interdisciplinary in college, such as public policy, and came to Penn specifically for the Politics, Philosophy and Economics major. “I read a lot of political journalism and got interested in political philosophy thanks to my AP English Language and Literature classes,” he recalls. “I always enjoyed history and government classes growing up.” Even while embarking immediately on his PPE course work in his freshman year, Bryce also cultivated his interests in finance and business, taking a summer internship with an investment advisory and financial planning services firm back home in Nevada, for which he gained certification to sell mutual funds and variable annuities.

    While finance had piqued his interest, Bryce kept his education focused squarely on the liberal arts, taking full advantage of opportunities to round out his Penn experience with opportunities that took him outside the “Penn bubble.” He spent the fall of his junior year sharpening his Spanish language skills through the abroad program in Seville, and then upon returning to the States, did the Penn in Washington semester program, interning at the State Department and just generally immersing himself in the policymaking culture of DC. It was eye-opening in many ways. “Participating in the Penn in Washington program changed my views on the ‘revolving door’ concept a lot,” Bryce reflected. “There are some major benefits to having regulators work in industry and vice versa. I honestly think it helps both sectors avoid an echo chamber mentality where institutional consensus can become overly narrow.”

    Bryce’s appreciation of the reciprocal relationship between public policy and finance definitely shaped his experience with the on-campus recruiting process. “My public policy interest and knowledge were probably the biggest reasons I landed interviews at several firms and eventually a position at BlackRock,” Bryce says. “Being able to discuss the minutiae of financial regulatory issues and the merits of different policy proposals showed firms that I had done my homework and was genuinely interested” in understanding all aspects of working in finance.

    While undoubtedly excited about working in New York next year, Bryce isn’t counting out the possibility of making a “revolving door” move of his own, and eventually transitioning to government work in DC. “I could imagine working for an agency like the Securities and Exchange Commission or Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in some sort of policy planning or policy writing role. I would also be interested in combining foreign policy and financial regulatory policy in some form, maybe within the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or something similar.” As Bryce sees it, though, regulatory roles aren’t the only way he could wind up merging his financial and policy backgrounds.  “I am also very interested in pursuing a career in federal law enforcement, potentially investigating white collar crime at an agency like the FBI or IRS Criminal Investigation Division.” With the array of experiences and skills Bryce has garnered during his tenure as a student at Penn, he will undoubtedly make an impactful contribution wherever his interests take him. 

  • Image previewApril 28Fed To Maintain Current Interest Rates; Stagnant Growth in UK, 5th Largest World Economy

    The U.S. current account balance deficit contracted 9.5% as imports tumbled nearly $8 billion while exports declined a more subdued $2 billion; The FOMC announced that it will hold interest rates at current levels citing a mixed economic landscape, as robust employment and a strong housing market have been offset in recent months by soft capital investment and stubbornly low inflation; GDP growth in the United Kingdom, the world’s fifth largest economy, was stagnant in the first quarter of 2016, as volatile global macroeconomic conditions and concern that Britain may leave the European Union contributed to declines in business investment and service sector output.

  • Image previewApril 26After Debt: A Path Forward for Puerto Rico

    This Issue Brief summarizes events surrounding the current debt crisis in Puerto Rico and presents a two-step plan for restructuring Puerto Rico’s debt and encouraging more effective governance. This plan draws extensively on the previous experiences of debt crises in municipalities on the U.S. mainland. Step one entails the creation of a financial control board (FCB) for Puerto Rico, monitored by the U.S. federal government but involving significant Puerto Rican representation. Step two would be for Congress either to craft a restructuring framework applicable to all of America’s territories, or to extend the existing bankruptcy laws in Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code (with modifications) to Puerto Rico and its municipalities.

  • Image previewApril 23Dodd-Frank Is Creating Radical Transformation

    In light of recent findings from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) finding the resolution plans – called “living wills” — filed by five banks as “not credible,” Faculty Affiliate Peter Conti-Brown believes there is a change in the relationship between the U.S. Government and Wall Street. 

    “Dodd-Frank is creating a radical transformation in the way that we do bank supervision…The way Dodd-Frank is panning out challenges critics “who see regulators — the Federal Reserve and the FDIC — as ‘captured,’” said Conti-Brown. 

  • Image previewApril 23How To Detect Overbilling in Medicare Reimbursements

    Overbilling for physician services under Medicare Part B has long been a concern, as some estimates show that fraudulent “upcoding” or “overcharging” might have cost the program tens of billions of dollars per year. Faculty Affiliate Hanming Feng developed a novel approach to determine the extent of overbilling. 

  • Image previewApril 23Why Community Sets Crowdfunding Apart

    Faculty Affiliate Ethan Mollick’s research tells us crowdfunding is unique: “Consumer-oriented platforms are often associated with the “gig” economy – connecting customers to suppliers for short-term contracts. Crowdfunding, however, shows that platforms can also serve as the basis for lasting businesses and important innovations. Moving from an expert-centered process to a platform approach increases diversity, leads to high quality results, and generally results in successful outcomes.” Read more in this HBR article: 

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