Speech Prompts Worldwide Sell-Off in Financial Sector

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Jan 22
Wall Street

Wall Street Financial District

Central Bank figures such as Ben Bernanke or Mervyn King are attentive to the perils and pitfalls of public speaking when all the eyes and ears of the world’s financial community are attuned to their every word.

So had President Obama anticipated plummeting share values when he chose to speak yesterday about new measures for the US financial community?

Only the previous week he had outlined much-anticipated measures to claw back the taxpayer costs of saving many of the banks in the 2007 2008 period. That was anticipated, expected and accepted. Share prices were unperturbed.

But these new measures were not expected. Certainly the lobbying efforts indicated that they were contrary to the bankers’ interests. So to whom do they appeal?

Voters.

A speech that outlines prohibitions on bank activities such as proprietary trading or hedge-fund ownership appeals to a certain core vote; maybe the core vote that deserted the Democrats in the late Edward Kennedy’s Senatorial seat in Massachusetts?

Courting populist votes in a key speech is one thing. But hitting the banks hard in areas that weren’t responsible for the financial meltdown in 2007 2008 is another. Perhaps when he sees the immediate effects of his speech on the financial markets the President might be more circumspect in how he communicates such measures in future? There’s more to this speech than meets the eye.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.
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