Vice President of Public Policy and Economic Research
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
Sean Karafin joined the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce staff in 2015 and as vice president of public policy and economic research oversees day-to-day activity of the public policy department and economic research efforts while managing the policy positions and agendas for the chamber’s various policy committees.
The San Diego native has served and currently serves on multiple boards and committees including the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless Board, the City of San Diego’s Sustainable Energy Advisory Board, the Water Reliability Coalition, the Circulate San Diego Policy Committee, the United Way Policy Committee, and the North Park Community Association Board among others, according to the chamber’s website.
Before joining the chamber, Karafin served in multiple roles at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association including as interim president and CEO from March through June 2014.
Before entering the nonprofit sector, Karafin held positions at two economic consulting firms: Applied Development Economics in the San Francisco Bay Area and BW Research Partnership in North County.
Karafin earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in economics from UC Santa Barbara.
His keynote talk will address trends to look for in the San Diego economy in 2019.
Moss Adams LLP
Kevin Dusi is a partner at Moss Adams LLP, where he serves a variety of clients ranging from closely held businesses to large, public, multinational corporations. He focuses primarily on the technology and life science sector as well as the manufacturing and distribution industry.
Dusi is the San Diego office tax leader and is part of Moss Adams’ International Tax Services Group.
What Dusi will be talking about at the 2019 Economic Trends event:
This continues to be a hot topic into 2019 as a lot of the rules and regulations have not yet been finalized or in some cases even written. With individuals, companies and their accountants having spent a lot of 2018 dealing with the more immediate impacts of tax reform (e.g. fixed asset expensing and mandatory repatriation of offshore earnings), many are now trying to understand the areas that most impact either their business or their individual tax situation.
20 Percent Deduction on Pass-Through Income: One of the main tax benefits given to individuals in an attempt to reduce rates closer to the now 21 percent corporate rate was the 20 percent deduction on qualifying pass-through income. There are finally proposed regulations in this area, and for San Diegans this looks to be a significant benefit, bringing the maximum tax rate on qualifying income down to 29.6 percent (from 37 percent).
International Changes: Tax Reform touted a simplification in the international tax regime by switching to a “territorial” system. However, the introduction of secondary taxes like Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) and the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) have created a much more complex compliance exercise for tax professionals. Offsetting this is the Foreign-Derived Intangible Income (FDII) benefit to U.S. companies on deemed income from intangibles to offshore customers, and one thing is very clear: tax reform targeted intellectual property (IP) with the purpose of keeping it here in the United States (or bringing it back). As a result, many of our growing San Diego startups are wondering about structure, IP location and related matters, making the landscape more complicated. The “old ways” of doing things are no longer necessarily the best.
Employee Attraction and Retention: With changes from tax reform and the expected compliance workload in the upcoming year, it has become more and more important for companies, whether CPA firms or companies with internal tax departments, to do what they can to retain their top talent and attract the right individuals to their workforce. The competition is fierce. Oftentimes it’s simply not enough to provide compensation packages to employees in line with the market. In this current economy, it is equally important for both companies and employees to consider company culture, leadership and growth potential.
2019 promises to be an exciting year as companies and individuals continue to navigate the changes put into place with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Senior District President of Professional Staffing Services
Robert Half, Southern CA,Arizona, Nevada & Utah
Brett Good is senior district president for Robert Half. He is responsible for overseeing operations for the company’s Accountemps, OfficeTeam, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Robert Half Management Resources, Salaried Professional Services and Robert Half Healthcare Practice divisions throughout Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.
Good joined Robert Half in 1999 and has more than two decades of experience in staffing service management and consulting, specializing in core process re-engineering, financial turnarounds and business reorganization. Good holds a master’s degree in finance from St. Mary’s College in Moraga and a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing from San Francisco State University.
What Good will be talking about at the 2019 Economic Trends event:
Job Market Overview
More than 1 million jobs have been created in 2018, reducing the pool of available talent and increasing the already high demand for topnotch professionals across the U.S.
The labor market is near full employment, job openings have hit an all-time high and the unemployment rate for many key roles is just 1 or 2 percent. We don’t see that going away or subsiding.
Hiring challenges: Companies that aren’t finding the talent they need in today’s competitive job market may need to try new hiring approaches and reevaluate their strategies. Workers today are more confident and have their choice of opportunities. Firms need to move efficiently through the hiring process in order to recruit the best talent.
Flexing requirements: Employers are focused on recruiting for a handful of essential requirements and remain flexible on the rest. They are offering professional development to help a promising candidate strengthen their skills through mentoring and training.
Retention and employee engagement: Employers are making retention a priority. Upward mobility, corporate culture, mentoring and professional development are more important than ever. Satisfied workers are more productive and build a great corporate culture. The most successful businesses understand the hiring environment, efficiently recruit professionals who are a good fit for their company and motivate them to stay for the long term.
What workers want: Aside from salary, corporate culture ranks second among job seekers when considering a job offer. What can employers do to better promote and develop their corporate culture? Instead of crafting an offer solely around money hoping it will stick, they promote flexibility, autonomy and upward mobility.
The New Labor Model
Flexible teams are becoming increasingly important to the everyday operations of organizations throughout North America. In the United States, one-third of finance executives (33 percent) report that their businesses use interim staff, up from 28 percent in the previous survey.
An agile workforce involves giving both employers and employees greater flexibility in how they staff and how they work. It is also accomplished by companies drawing professionals from multiple labor pools.
Marsh & McLennan Agency
Trindl Reeves is chief sales officer of Marsh & McLennan Agency’s West Region, specializing in risk management and health and welfare consulting.
What Reeves will be talking about at the 2019 Economic Trends event:
What will 2019 bring for companies seeking to manage their insurance expenses? For organizations that proactively manage risk, the good news is that premiums for most categories of business insurance will rise only modestly in 2019.
In 2017, the devastation from hurricanes Harvey ($17 billion), Irma ($28 billion), and Maria ($28 billion), as well as the California wildfires ($13 billion), resulted in one of the biggest loss years in history for the U.S. property insurance industry. In California, 2018 was the worst fire-loss year in history. Claims and payouts were significant, but insurance companies appear strongly capitalized to take the hit.
The past two years have seen escalating insurance company losses. As a result, you’ll see upward pressure on premiums across most lines of business. Thankfully, capital position of insurers is at an all-time high, so businesses should only experience slight to modest increases.
The time for coverage is now. Depending on the size of the organization and business model, cyber insurance rates in 2019 are expected to decrease as much as 3 percent or increase 5 percent. Larger companies with more clients and data are likely to bear the brunt of the increases in cyber coverage. The recent Marriott data breach and similar intrusions at high-profile organizations will continue to exert more pressure on all firms to tighten cyber security.
Given the current environment, it’s more important than ever to fortify internal controls as necessary and perform routine cybersecurity assessments. You’ll likely be treated more favorably upon renewal or when pursuing new or expanded coverage.
If there is one bright spot in the year ahead, it’s Workers’ Compensation. The average rate paid as a percentage of payroll for Workers’ Comp in California is at historic lows. In 2017, rates dropped 11.4 percent. In 2018, employers have benefitted from another almost 16 percent reduction. Effective Jan. 1, rates will be down another 8.5 percent.
There is some concern that Governor-elect Gavin Newsom may roll back some of the reforms passed by Governor Schwarzenegger on medical cost containment. If medical costs in the Workers’ Comp realm increase, the market could turn in less than two years and premiums could begin to rise.
The Big Picture
The industry’s capital cushion is preventing recent losses from turning into a hard, more expensive market. The slowing of rate changes also indicates that carriers will hold off rate increases if a company is considered a good risk.
So what should companies do in a market like this? It’s important to take a strategic approach to risk management. That includes ongoing and comprehensive risk assessment across all of your operations.
Senior Vice President & Area Manager
Jane Finley is senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Inc. in San Diego, including Kaiser Permanente’s two acute care hospitals — with more than 500 licensed beds — and 30 other medical facilities. More than 9,200 employees and 1,400 physicians care for more than 625,000 Kaiser Permanente members throughout San Diego County. As the senior executive for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, Finley’s responsibilities include oversight of all health care delivery, financial operations, business strategy, and health plan and hospital support functions.
Prior to her current role, Finley was the senior vice president and executive director of the Kaiser Permanente Downey medical center area. She joined Kaiser Permanente in 1984 at the Southern California regional offices in the program planning department. Finley holds a bachelor of science in medical technology from the University of Missouri Columbia and a master of health service administration from the University of Michigan.
What Finley will be talking about at the 2019 Economic Trends event:
What Employers Can Expect in 2019
Nationally, the economy continues its steady growth, with education and health care sectors gaining the most jobs. Medical cost trends are expected to remain essentially flat in 2019, with already historically low commercial rate increases expected to follow suit. Health care technology continues to advance, and providers are adapting to consumers’ demands for alternatives to care in traditional settings.
How Employers Are Responding
Large employers continue to offer coverage to their employees at the same level as past years, while small businesses have increased their coverage offerings. Confidence among all employers remains strong regarding their ability to continue to offer health benefits in the coming years. Increasingly, companies are focusing on the upstream management of chronic conditions within their workforce, while at the same time pushing the health care industry for greater affordability, transparency and value.
The Shift From Employee “Wellness” to “Well-being”
The shift is taking place as evidence mounts that physical health is only one of many factors contributing to outcomes valued by employers. Employers are focusing on multiple dimensions of employees’ lives including their emotional well-being, financial security, social connectedness and job satisfaction. Employee total well-being remains a top priority for employers and positively influences employee engagement.
Marcus & Millichap
Spencer Moyer serves as a regional manager of Marcus & Millichap in San Diego, overseeing 100 commercial real estate investment sales professionals and staff. In 2018, the San Diego office closed on $2.1 billion in transactional value across a wide variety of product types. He provides strategic direction for the office’s operations while serving as an active adviser for his brokers.
What Moyer will be talking about at the 2019 Economic Trends event:
The Effect of Rising Interest Rates
Interest rates have remained artificially low for years, spurring significant investment activity in all sectors of commercial real estate. As the cost of capital increases, investors are finding it more challenging to meet their yield requirements. Lenders are also becoming more conservative in what they’re willing to lend on, who they’re willing to lend to and related topics. It seems that the Fed has made every indication that rates will continue to rise, so it will be interesting to see how the market responds.
Where Rents Are Going
Across all major product types, rent growth in San Diego has continued to outpace most of the nation. I plan on sharing our firm’s 2019 investment forecast for office/industrial, retail and apartments. Fundamentally speaking, real estate is about supply and demand and San Diego is geographically constrained. The cost and time to build a project in San Diego has made it extremely difficult for developers to make sense of the numbers. We have a serious supply issue which is great news for owners in the marketplace.
The Challenges of Talent Acquisition, Retention and Development
A company’s culture is built around who you hire and how your train them, so this topic is critically important to our firm. The talent coming out of universities today is better than ever and we are religiously looking for motivated, hungry, coachable people to join our platform. With that said, commercial real estate investment brokerage is not typically top-of-mind in terms of a career path. Our focus has to be on educating the talent pool on what separates us from other industries and painting a clear picture for what can be accomplished. It goes without saying that retention of our talent is a top priority. We can’t control what our competitors do, but if we treat our professionals correctly, support their business, and continue to provide value, then retention takes care of itself.