Five Things You Should Know About Housing Reform Legislation

Posted by Michael S. Canter (pictured) and Matthew D. Bass of AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB) A recent US Senate bill calls for a restructuring of the government’s role in housing finance, including winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Here are five takeaways from the current proposal.

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Taming the New Medicare Surtax

The wealthy will likely see higher 2013 income taxes. One of the newest additions to the tax bill is the 3.8% Medicare surtax. By planning ahead, you may be able to reduce the tax bite—or possibly avoid being bitten altogether.

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DC: Where the Action…Isn’t

Washington’s current inactivity poses a challenge for defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors, investment management providers and record keepers. We’ve heard rumblings of legislative, regulatory and perhaps even taxation changes…but what changes seem likely to happen?

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TAG Could Be Tagged in Fiscal-Cliff Negotiations

Doug Peebles, Jon Denfeld and Ed Dombrowski Caught up in the wrangling over the US fiscal cliff is a little-publicized program that could have big implications for short-term investors and bond yields if the program expires on December 31. If the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program ends, huge sums of money may start looking for a new [...]

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Don’t Let Abuses Overshadow Value of 10b5-1 Plans

Daniel B. Eagan and Richard L.N. Weaver A recent Wall Street Journal article implied that some US executives have manipulated 10b5-1 programs to boost gains or reduce losses when trading company stock. Even if these abuses did occur, we think they shouldn’t obscure the value of 10b5-1 programs implemented in good faith.

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Fees Matter a Lot, but They’re Not All That Matters

The US Department of Labor’s new fee-disclosure rules for defined contribution (DC) plans will provide participants with much more information on plan and investment-option fees. That’s good. But there’s a real risk that it may unintentionally drive participants toward making poor investment decisions, as my colleagues Mark Fortier and Daniel Notto explain below.

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“Bad Bank” Unlikely to Solve Spain’s Banking Problems

As Spain slips back into recession, the Spanish government has begun talks on ring-fencing the country’s bad property loans in one or more separate entities. While this may help, we doubt whether the move will be enough on its own to solve Spain’s problems, as our European banking analyst, Victoria Norman, discusses below. 

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New Rules to Shed More Light on US DC Plan Provider Fees

This spring and early summer will be a busy time for US defined contribution plan sponsors and providers, but to a good end: greater clarity on services and fees.

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US Housing Finance: Our Vision for a Privately Led System

There’s a growing consensus today that the US government’s huge footprint in the $10.5 trillion mortgage market needs to shrink, with the private sector taking the lead. But there is less agreement on how the transition to a new system should take place. Here’s our perspective as investors in the mortgage market on what is [...]

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US Housing Finance: Let’s Put Quality Before Quantity

The US government’s housing finance policies in recent decades can be summarized by one simple phrase: quantity over quality. The implicit goal was to increase the quantity of housing finance by keeping mortgage rates low and promoting wider home ownership. For several decades, the system worked. But if we view the long-term stability of home [...]

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