As the global economy begins recovering from the most harrowing meltdown in modern financial history, the business of finance has been laid bare like never before: the lax controls and near-fatal flaws that helped inflate the housing bubble, and the overly complex instruments and overleveraged bets that imploded when the housing market suddenly tumbled.
Yet in the months since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and AIG over a year ago, the upside of finance has been readily visible, as well: the resilient role it plays in funding growth and economic recovery, the confidence it can instill in consumers and in business, and the prodigious profits it can produce.
The dark and bright sides of the industry of finance, its risks and its rewards, will be examined and debated by powerful Wall Street deal makers and influential Washington policy makers at The Deal Economy 2011. The event will take place in New York at the New York Stock Exchange on December 2-3, 2010. The Deal's conference commences just as the finance business is being tested like never before. In the crisis, the feds pushed the biggest banks to get even bigger -- J.P. Morgan Chase bought Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns; Bank of America was coaxed into buying Merrill Lynch. Now the feds want to restrain the same banks ... for being too big. Could break-ups become the order of the day?
Panelists will debate the implications of a new kind of credit crunch: Wall Street and the banks are under pressure to reduce risk, yet they also are being exhorted to expand lending. They have had to stave off bitter criticism of lavish compensation and taxpayer bailouts, while weathering a populist groundswell in Washington to impose a battery of new taxes and regulations.
They also will debate the risks that loom. Will regulators and politicians slap the finance business with ineffective and burdensome measures that could crimp economic growth? Might some players forget the lessons of the collapse we just have just barely survived? The answers and their implications will take center stage at The Deal Economy 2011.