Filed in Corporate Governance, Current Affairs, Economy, Featured, Finance, Simon School of Business on May 26, 2011 with no commentsNew York City was the backdrop for the 2nd Annual Simon Graduate School of Business Conference. This year, nearly 300 people gathered to hear experts from industry, government and academia discuss “Emerging Risks to America’s Financial Stability.” The day began with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who discussed his State’s renewed commitment to making the regulatory environment there more favorable for businesses. Christie says he is cutting both taxes and regulations since high marginal tax rates drive individuals and businesses from the state. In a lively exchange with Simon School Professor and government pensions expert Robert Novy-Marx, Christie called for more legislation on how pensions are handled for public employees. He said unions have to be willing to sit down and talk about pensions and there has to be compromise. Novy-Marx said the government pensions crisis is getting worse by the day. His new study on government pensions is due out in the next month.SEC Chief Enforcement Officer Robert Khuzami and University of Rochester President and securities expert Joel Seligman examined financial regulation response and enforcement priorities after the crisis. Seligman said that we must prevent future Madoffs. He said the SEC failed to do so and needs to be more vigilant. Khuzami said that effective enforcement means asking the right questions and being smart about what you do.The inaugural Executive of the Year award was presented to Peter G. Peterson (the former CEO of Lehman Brothers and co-founder of The Blackstone Group). A noted philanthropist and “deficit hawk,” Peterson previously served as the United States Secretary of Commerce and chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. During his remarks, Peterson said the biggest problem we have is our dependence on foreign lending. The associated interest costs are staggering, he said.Simon Professor Clifford W. Smith Jr. shared his perspective on the impact of global financial regulation changes. Smith said the deficit and borrowing are what most people are talking about, but he says the more important question is “What is the government spending money on in the first place and how do those expenditures match with our collective valuation of what's being purchased?”SuperFreakonomics co-author Steven Levitt delivered the William E. Simon Memorial Lecture. His new book examines, among other things, the economics of prostitution. He said the results were shocking. “We looked at how these women make choices and found that the decision is much more financial than moral,” Levitt said. “Prostitution is the worst job in America.”Yale economist Robert Shiller said we have to completely rethink our mortgage institutions. Shiller said people take leveraged, undiversified investments in homes with their entire life savings and that’s a risky thing to do. He says it doesn’t get talked about much, but it led to the financial crisis.UBS COO Anita Sands predicted the decade ahead will be “exciting, transformative and disruptive in terms of technology and its impact on the financial sector. Sands said UBS is focusing attention on four things: mobile, social networking, collaboration and cloud technology.Prominent alums from the business arena such as Ricardo Leiman, CEO of Noble Group Ltd., and Jay Benet, vice chairman and CFO, Travelers Insurance, moderated by Simon alum and Bloomberg TV journalist Melissa Long, talked about the European debt crisis and future of the Euro zone, as well as the impact of natural disasters on risk management strategies.Media outlets included Fox Business, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, Fortune, Forbes, Management Magazine, the Daily Telegraph (UK), National Underwriter Property, Crain's New York Business, Barron's, Agenda, Law360, the Newark Star Ledger, WNYC Radio and NJ.com. Advance coverage included stories in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and RBJ.Plans are already under way for the 3rd annual NYC Conference next spring! To view more NYC Conference photos, visit the Simon Flickr.