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World Economy Expects U.S. Leadership “For the last several months I have been concerned about the federal government’s ability to provide a strong business environment,” says H. William Walter. “Uncertainty stands in the way of business expansion and the creation of new jobs. From any kind of an economic perspective, both nationally and internationally, the government needs to have a budget. The whole international economy looks to us to provide leadership and stability. This idea of shutting down the government is terrifying. You can’t run a business that way, and you can’t run a government that way.” The worry that the government might gridlock itself into another shutdown prompted Walter to spend a lot of time acting as a lobbyist, talking to senators and representatives to make his position known. “Businesses have to be more involved in expressing their positions and letting people know how important it is to have a functioning government,” he says. “People have to be willing to work together and compromise. Government has to operate in the same way.” H. William Walter ’66 BS, ’72 MBA President and Founder Heartland Realty Investors, Inc. Expect Interest Rates to Grow Read an expanded version of this feature at carlsonschoolmagazine.com SPRING 14 CAR2L0SON SCHOOL OGFE MENMTA NA 13 Chris Neugent Chairman and CEO MOM Brands Robert Senkler, ’74 BA Chairman and CEO Securian Financial Group To Robert Senkler, the biggest challenges to come out of the 2008 recession have been slow economic job growth and artificially low interest rates precipitated by Fed actions. “These changes are putting significant financial pressure on insurance companies’ balance sheets in particular as it relates to variable annuities, long-term care, fixed annuities, and really, any long-tail liability where an interest assumption is important in the product pricing,” he says. To counter these difficulties, Securian has been modestly changing investment allocation to increase investment income, although never going outside of its overall risk tolerance. This is important obviously, because less investment income means having less revenue and a slower job growth. “It has definitely slowed overall job creation at Securian,” Senkler says. Senkler expects interest rates will be higher in the future regardless of the Fed and its policies. “They are simply delaying the increase in interest rates to some future point,” he says. “In the meantime, low interest rates create winners and losers in the economic landscape. Essentially it is creating a saver’s tax.”


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