Politics

Top financial advisory firm warns clients about coronavirus 'complacency' in Congress

Key Points
  • Signum Global is telling clients not to expect much of a response from lawmakers on Capitol Hill as it pertains to the coronavirus. 
  • The firm's note gives a partial glimpse into how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are perceiving the virus and their next steps in fighting it.
  • "While the Trump administration is well-attuned to markets, many on Capitol Hill remain 'behind the curve' in appreciating the severity of the recent market downturn and its potential impact on the U.S. real economy," the note said.
A tour operator, wearing a protective mask, gestures as he leads a tour near the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 9, 2020.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Financial advisory firm Signum Global Advisors, following meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, has told clients not to expect a solution to coronavirus-related market turmoil to come from Washington.

The firm, which is run by former Evercore vice chairman Charles Myers, told its associates that lawmakers were "behind the curve" in understanding the impact of the downturn in the market is having on the broader economy, according to a client note, first reviewed by CNBC. The firm also warned of "complacecncy" among lawmakers.

"While the Trump administration is well-attuned to markets, many on Capitol Hill remain 'behind the curve' in appreciating the severity of the recent market downturn and its potential impact on the U.S. real economy," the note said.

The group said in its note, titled "Washington will not rescue the market," that it felt "pessimistic about the odds of a convincing political fiscal response" after their meetings earlier on Tuesday. 

The firm's note gives a partial glimpse into how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are perceiving the virus and their next steps in fighting it. Congress recently passed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to combat the virus, and President Donald Trump signed it into law on Friday. 

State governments, however, are still insisting they do not have enough test kits for those coming into the hospitals claiming to have symptoms. There's a debate inside the Trump administration about how to inject a form of economic stimulus in order to calm the markets, which have been volatile for weeks. There are over 600 confirmed cases in the United States.  

Although it is unclear which members of Congress met with Signum representatives, a person familiar with the gatherings said they spoke with seven different lawmakers from the House and Senate, both Democrats and Republicans.

Signum's massive policy arm has a global presence, with offices in New York, Washington and London. Beyond Meyers, his team has people with extensive experience in both the financial and political sectors, including a deputy executive director who served under Hillary Clinton when she was the secretary of State. . 

The firm's representatives also felt concerned about how lawmakers regarded the increasing severity of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

"While attention to the coronavirus has picked up in recent days within political circles, there remains a high degree of complacency – or at least widely-diverging beliefs – about the epidemic's severity," the note explains. 

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