‘High marks’ for pro-growth policy, tax reform

Finance


Swiss bank UBS said Monday that President Donald Trump deserves praise for his pro-growth policies.

Those efforts in making the U.S. a more business-friendly economy, which include the recently passed tax reform, are often under-appreciated, said Mike Ryan, UBS Wealth Management’s chief investment officer for Americas. But the president has “changed the perception of what’s possible in Washington,” he said at the bank’s client gathering in Singapore.

“I think prior to his election, the prospects of tax reform, of regulatory relief, or any sort of sensible approach to infrastructure were off the table,” said Ryan, who added that Trump defied those expectations by getting the new tax bill passed.

The president deserves “high marks” for his economic achievements so far, Ryan added.

Before the bill was passed in December 2017, the U.S. tax code was “very inefficient,” he said. Heavy regulation in the U.S. that businesses faced was also not an environment that gives confidence to investors, he added.

The reform, which drastically cuts corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, was therefore a positive development even as the new tax code is “not everything that we hoped for,” Ryan said.

Despite that, the Trump administration remains a key risk that the bank is watching, according to Mark Haefele, UBS Wealth Management’s global chief investment officer. Protectionist policies and a conflict with North Korea could derail the current “Goldilocks” environment.



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