Better Markets is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month. To mark the event, Better Markets will publish a series of blog posts profiling members of its staff and highlighting the work they do as lawyers, regulatory and legislative specialists, researchers, administrators, and fundraisers as they fight for the economic security, opportunity and prosperity of all Americans, particularly those who are disenfranchised.
Spotlight: Ed Silverman, Senior Fellow
Background: As Senior Fellow, Ed provides strategic input into all aspects of Better Markets’ advocacy on banking, economics, finance, securities and associated matters. He also works on projects related to rebalancing finance to support the real economy, jobs and growth.
Ed joined Better Markets earlier this year, bringing with him extensive public and private experience in the financial industry. Between 2009-2011, he was the majority Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs during the consideration, passage and enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. After passage of Dodd-Frank, Ed worked as Senior Vice President and Head of Government Relations for TD Bank. He also worked for RBS Americas and Greenwich Capital.
You recently joined Better Markets but you have been a big supporter since it launched in 2010. What impressed you about Better Markets?
When I was Staff Director of the Senate Banking Committee, I was involved in the consideration and passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. My concern from the outset with the implementation of the new law was that the well-funded, large financial institutions that fought its enactment would undoubtedly seek to weaken its effect during the regulatory implementation process.
It was during this period that I first noticed the efforts of Better Markets in defense of Dodd-Frank and financial reform. It virtually was the lone voice defending the new law, but also and more importantly, advocating for greater equality in our financial system.
Over the ensuing years, Better Markets has been successful as the major advocate for reversing the inequalities in the financial system despite being consistently outnumbered and out spent. When I decided to affiliate with Better Markets earlier this year as a Senior Fellow, I gained a much better appreciation for the degree of success they have been able to achieve through comment letters on regulations, intervention in legal proceeding and high-quality research and policy reports and advocacy.
I was singularly impressed by the high level of expertise of the entire staff. Just this year, Better Markets’ staff released two reports—10 Years of Dodd-Frank and Financial Reform and the Road to Recovery: Protecting Main Street from President Trump’s Dangerous Deregulation of Wall Street—which rank among the best analyses of developments in the financial services arena since the assuage of Dodd-Frank. These are just two of dozens of relevant, data-driven and targeted reports on various issues that Better Markets has released during the last 10 years. The Road to Recovery report should prove especially useful to the incoming Biden-Harris administration as they consider the effects of the deregulatory actions taken over the last four years.
You knew President and CEO Dennis Kelleher prior to the launch of Better Markets. Has his focus always been on making a safer, more secure financial system?
I worked closely with Dennis when we were both Senate staffers during consideration of Dodd-Frank. He was a tireless advocate for both stronger regulation of financial markets and the necessity to address the needs of people and communities that suffered most from the effects of the Great Recession. When he started Better Markets, I was encouraged that this same zeal and dedication would be an unrelenting voice for these same goals.
Looking forward to 2021, what do you think will be a pressing financial regulatory issue under a Biden administration?
The new administration has the undaunting task of taking office during a pandemic and a likely worsening economy. These and other priorities require a response in accord with their election mandate to seriously address long-neglected systemic economic and racial inequalities in our financial system. I am confident that Better Markets will be in the forefront of these debates and hope to contribute my expertise as part of the team.