Message from Mike Percy, Managing Partner, Financial Services
Dear FIEB readers,
Before I offer perspectives on the past month, I want to note that I recently observed another evolution of our typical tasks. Like most people, when I take vacation, I set my email to reply that I am out of the office. When I started to perform that task a few weeks ago, it struck me as no longer relevant as I, like many of us, have been away from the office for more than 13 months. So, I corrected my auto-reply message to indicate I would be away from my email.
With earnings releases starting to come in, we are seeing a significant improvement in earnings compared to the first quarter of 2020 for the vast majority of filers that have issued to date. While we have encouraging signs, it is still early to speculate on how collectively the industry fared for the first quarter of 2021. Of course, we will have a much better viewpoint for our next month’s issue.
As expected, the regulatory activity has increased over the past month, including in areas of artificial intelligence, diversity, Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering, and forbearance. We continue to see a great deal of interest in environmental, social, and governance issues, with a focus on climate change disclosures. With the new chair, Gary Gensler, sworn in at the Securities and Exchange Commission, we will see how its policy stance on ESG disclosure unfolds. We have seen increased interest from policymakers from around the world and expect ESG to be a major public policy focus for 2021.
I hope this message finds you, your friends, your family, and your colleagues well.