We launched a new section in our August issue designed to give you insight into what’s going on across a range of sectors by asking three local executives to answer a pertinent business question from the viewpoint of their respective industries. Their replies provide a snapshot of the current business landscape in our area.
President, Progessive Benefits Solutions
Some of the biggest uncertainties facing our industry are the instability of the individual market due to attempts to repeal the individual mandate, the government’s move to stop paying the cost sharing reductions (CSR) and the lack of competition in the state.We also see mergers of doctor practices, hospital systems and now, with the recent merger of Aetna to CVS, the impact this might have on the overall cost of care. We also see uncertainty in how carriers are marketing their products, discontinuing a lot of products from their portfolio with the focus being on tiered networks which may not always benefit the consumer.
Daniel J. Caldwell
Chief marketing officer, Stout & Caldwell, LLC
I’d have to say there are two main issues facing the civil engineering, land surveying and environmental sciences industry. The first is the regulatory environment— we are routinely tasked with navigating a mix of local, state and federal regulations, plus keeping informed of changes that impact both commercial and residential clients. The other challenge is one of finding highly qualified staff. We have a great team that has helped us grow. Yet as a result of being busy, the cliché “good employees are hard to find” has never been more on point.
Market president, M&T Bank
A big business factor in 2018 will be the changing tax code and its impact on business operations and capital investment. One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced recently, and it’s more of a challenge than an obstacle, has been softening commercial loan demand. When we surveyed commercial customers across our footprint, including New Jersey, in Q3, only 31 percent expected to increase capital spending in the months ahead. As we’re getting more clarity on business tax reform, that should provide a stimulus to both the U.S. economy and many local businesses, and we’ll be working with our clients to help them understand the changing environment and finance their business plans.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 7, Issue 12 (December, 2017).