The Cypress Group is a strategic advisory and advocacy firm that counsels clients on public policy risk and opportunity, designs strategic plans around those risks and opportunities, and assists in executing on those plans. The firm draws from a diverse background in government, business and law to formulate its views of how legislative and regulatory changes affect various industry stakeholders in financial services, capital markets, budget, tax, and energy. The firm supports corporate managers, institutional investors, and trade association managers with actionable insights into public policy issues through its corporate strategy, policy research, and advocacy services.
The Cypress Group develops and executes on public policy and government relations solutions through the lens of the corporate and financial objectives of an individual client. Many firms offering services in the public policy space engage simply in the tactical sphere, without truly understanding these objectives.
Likewise, we believe that corporate strategy consulting firms have too narrow a focus because they fall short of examining public policy and its associated risk. Where they do attempt to focus on public policy, they often lack the experience to evaluate and advise on the issues effectively.
Companies and investors demand a more complete and integrated strategic planning process. Cypress is the missing link for many corporate and investment managers.
We specialize in advising companies and investors of the political, legislative, and regulatory risks and opportunities affecting their corporate and investment strategies. We combine market understanding, intellectual rigor, and legislative and regulatory expertise to deliver solutions for our clients. We integrate our clients’ corporate strategies and their attendant political risks and opportunities to develop a comprehensive plan for maximizing profits.
We view political risk as the probability that changing laws or regulations will create loss or change for a client. Our partners assign probabilities to possible political outcomes and model the resultant scenarios for our clients. Cypress seeks to anticipate, measure, and manage these changes for our clients.
Cypress provided investors with potential scenarios and accurately predicted key changes to a Fed rulemaking. Several investment manager clients were interested in how the Federal Reserve would regulate debit card interchange fees and routing rules under the Durbin amendment of Dodd-Frank. The Advisory team guided clients first through the detailed, behind-the scenes legislative machinations leading up to Dodd-Frank, then through the Fed’s initially tough proposal, the intense, months-long lobbying campaign, and the Fed’s substantial changes in the final rule. Throughout the process, Cypress educated investors on esoteric payment models and Fed process, and assigned probabilities to several potential scenarios, allowing Cypress clients to accurately predict ultimate outcomes for the payment networks and card issuers.
Cypress priced the political risk of a proposed private equity investment. The deal proposed buying a company and splitting it into two distinct entities. One would be a consumer finance company regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new and uncharted agency that posed considerable political risk and uncertainty. Working directly with the deal team to identify crucial regulatory questions impacting the company’s profit and loss, Cypress leveraged its knowledge of CFPB regulations and motives, as well as deep relationships within the Bureau’s senior leadership and broader policymaking community, to quantify the likelihood of specific regulatory outcomes, allowing the PE firm to proceed through the deal with greater confidence.
Cypress developed a strategic plan for a Fortune 100 to be more proactive about its public policy goals. The client had found itself at a crossroads, having spent substantially in Washington with questionable results. Cypress initiated a comprehensive review of the firm’s public policy threats and opportunities, developed a strategic plan to ensure that policy goals matched corporate profit-drivers that took into account the changing political and market landscapes, and helped the client pivot from a defensive to an offensive posture. Cypress continues to work with the client’s Washington office to achieve its public policy goals, and to help it serve its Risk and Executive committees internally.
Cypress Advisory was retained by a financial services trade association under new leadership. The incoming management team asked Cypress Advisory to identify key strengths and weaknesses of the organization, as well as present a strategy for improving its member service, advocacy, and communications in Washington, DC. The firm spent four months analyzing the association’s business model, interviewing personnel and researching the staffing, operations, and budgets of similar organizations. Cypress Advisory designed a three-year strategy for the client to present to their Board. That plan is currently guiding the managerial decisions shaping the association and its membership.
Cypress developed detailed lobbying, grassroots, and PAC strategies to help a large financial services company fight a harmful rulemaking. The Cypress team engaged in direct lobbying of White House officials to educate them on the bottom-line impact of the rule, and worked directly with Congressional coalitions to build a bipartisan groundswell in support of our client’s position that resulted in the proposed rule being withdrawn. Cypress continues to lead advocacy efforts for the company and build grassroots efforts to prevent a potential re-proposal of the rule.
Cypress successfully led a coalition to persuade the Senate to approve the first major legislative changes to Dodd-Frank. The coalition consists of federally-regulated insurance companies subject to bank-centric capital standards under the Collins amendment of Dodd-Frank, and the bill provides the Federal Reserve flexibility to tailor those standards. Cypress managed the coalition strategy, leveraged our deep policy expertise, and capitalized on our relationships on the Hill and within the Fed and other members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). Through Cypress’s leadership and what the Wall Street Journal called “relentless, coordinated lobbying,” the coalition won broad bipartisan support.