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Successful Businesses Found Ways to Grow Beth Kieffer Leonard says the road back from 2008 has been paved with perseverance, dedication, and hard work in general as the initial response to cut jobs and expenses was followed up with a fierce determination to figure out how to grow through the recession. “The most successful businesses found a way to add business lines, buy complementary businesses, and expand into foreign markets,” she says. “They viewed this period as an opportunity to streamline processes and systems, and invest in the talent they needed to take them to the next level.” She adds that as the economy returns to a growth environment, the lessons learned during the recession are the drivers for planning for 2014 and beyond. Impact of Regulations Still Being Debated “I believe the Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act or ‘Dodd-Frank Act,’ which was adopted in 2010, is the most significant change to financial legislation since the Great Depression,”says Laura Moret. Moret says the impact of regulations established by Dodd-Frank on financial service companies and the economy continues to be debated. However, in 2013, the economy did improve in this increased regulatory environment. “There was a strong stock market, with the biggest percentage gain since 1997,” she says. “The Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index rose 29.6 percent, with investor 401(K) and IRA equity accounts reaping the benefits.” Moret believes that financial service companies expect the increased regulatory environment will continue to require additional resources in the future. “I also think most economists appear to be generally optimistic for the near future of the U.S. and global economy,” she says. Beth Kieffer Leonard, ’82 BSB CPA, Managing Partner Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company, LLP Government Policies and Restrictive Credit are Limiting Growth Being a real estate developer dealing with both commercial and land development, Chip Glaser has been seeing a rebound in various markets. However, this rebound has been tepid, as both consumers and builders are proceeding cautiously. “Overall, consumer confidence Chip Glaser, ’75 BSB President K. Charles Development Corporation is below levels seen in past economic expansions,” he says. “This economic instability is based in political deadlock, mistrust of government, and concern over public fiscal health. Stability in Washington will enhance growth.” He says the current deficit spending is unsustainable, and one of the largest measures which needs to occur is meaningful entitlement reform. “Overall, our elected officials need to demonstrate more ethical conduct and put the good of the people above their personal political aspirations,” he says. Glaser adds that another large barrier to broad economic expansion is access to capital—both for developers and for consumer credit and mortgages. “While rates are at historically low levels, credit constraints make it difficult for the masses to avail themselves of current rates,” he says. Fed policies have created a disincentive to lend, the Dodd-Frank legislation has mandated overly restrictive provisions banks must follow, and the current flat yield curve is hurting margins, which means banks have no margin for error in lending. K. Charles Development Corporation SPRING 14 CAR2L0SON SCHOOL OGFE MENTM ANA11 Laura Moret, ’76 BA,’81 MBA Chief Counsel—Asset Management, Managing Director Piper Jaffray Ex-officio Member Carlson School Alumni Board


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