Blog: Goldman Sachs seeks to rebrand as wealth takes center stage in the Democratic presidential race – The Washington Post

The forum, sponsored by Goldman’s small-business program, is one of six such events the bank has staged with 2020 Democratic presidential contenders in Iowa and New Hampshire so far this year. Goldman executives say their purpose is to elevate small-business concerns in the contest. Small businesses employ nearly half the private workforce, and Goldman argues they lack a voice in Washington and have received scant attention on the campaign trail — a realization executives say they reached after shepherding more than 9,100 through the entrepreneurship program they launched nearly a decade ago.

But the effort is also a subtle rebranding exercise by a firm at the center of a knockdown political fight between Wall Street and Main Street. For populists such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the banking giant remains a totem of runaway Wall Street greed that helped precipitate the 2008 financial crisis and continues to reap a windfall under the Trump administration. For Wall Street titans and the uber-rich, liberal Democratic candidates are villainizing their success and threatening it with their economic plans.

Warren’s “wealth tax” — which would impose a 2 percent levy on households with more than $50 million, with a 6 percent surtax on assets over $1 billion — has prompted some of Goldman’s most prominent alums to take their grievances to the CNBC airwaves. Hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman and former Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein have blasted the wealth tax, with Blankfein attacking Warren for using a “kind of demagoguery.” Warren for her part has leaned into the fight, featuring both men in a CNBC ad and selling a mug reading “billionaire tears” in her campaign’s Web store.

The Democratic Party’s fight over making money — and how much of it should be redistributed by the government — is only intensifying with the entrance into the presidential field of multibillionaire Mike Bloomberg. Wall Streeters such as Cooperman seem relieved the ex-mayor of New York is running, while Warren has attacked Bloomberg as trying to buy the race.

Into this mix has stepped Goldman, which wants to convince both Democratic elected officials and ordinary voters that the firm is on their side. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) recruited the firm to launch its first statewide iteration of its small-business program three years ago, and 250 entrepreneurs have graduated since.

Raimondo, the head of the Democratic Governor’s Association, said she is “very, very pleased” with the program and it’s already been “highly impactful” as a job creator.

She argued that “capitalism, as it’s playing out in America, is having serious issues that need to be addressed. . . . Elizabeth Warren has a very justified view that the excesses of Wall Street have hurt Americans, and frankly, she’s right.”

Yet the former venture capitalist, who has also praised Bloomberg’s track record, said she thinks Goldman’s effort “comes from a genuine place.”

Democratic voters may be a tougher sell. They believe Wall Street hurts the economy more than it helps it, by a margin of 46 percent to 41 percent, according to a January poll by the Pew Research Center. More than 8 in 10 Democrats think the political system mainly benefits those in power, a Washington Post-ABC News survey in April found. And there is widespread voter concern about the industry’s political influence, with 69 percent saying financial services interests wield too much power in Washington, according to a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

Goldman launched the small-business initiative in 2010 with a $200 million commitment and a goal to give 10,000 people with established businesses accelerated training in growth, including coursework, networking and mentorship. What began with a pilot project at LaGuardia Community College in Queens now has operations in 19 locations, including three statewide programs, plus a national cohort.

The idea to sponsor the candidate forums came after Goldman hosted a conference in Washington in January 2018, flying in about 2,000 program graduates to discuss policy challenges facing small businesses.

Goldman Sachs’s executive vice president, John F.W. Rogers, chair of the firm’s foundation, which underwrites both the 10,000 Small Businesses program and the forums, said the events are “about putting this on the agenda of the candidates. I haven’t seen anybody say, ‘Here’s my plan for small business in America. Here’s how I’m going to address the regulations they face, the need for capital.’ ”

“There seems to be a frustration that nobody thinks about the issues that challenge them,” Rogers said. “I hope some of these businesses will grow one day to become big enterprises and do business with Goldman Sachs,” but the firm has no direct economic stake in the program.

Yet the firm also uses the events as opportunities to strengthen its ties to the candidates, sending lobbyists from its Washington office to greet them. For the Harris event, it was Joyce Brayboy, who was chief of staff to former congressman Mel Watt (D-N.C.), who has spent over a decade pressing the firm’s interests on Capitol Hill.

Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, which advocates tougher regulation of the financial services industry, sees a self-serving agenda at play. “This is the tip of the spear of Goldman’s whole strategy to reintroduce itself to America as a retail bank that cares about Main Street, rather than a global bank that was engaged in decades of illegal conduct that had devastating consequences for families across the country,” he said. “This is one of the biggest banks in the world staging candidate forums not just as brand enhancement but also to put on their best face with the next president, who will be picking their regulators.”

Those who have participated in the events hail from the party’s more moderate wing: In addition to Harris, they include former vice president Joe Biden, Sens. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and former candidate and congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.). South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is drawing more interest from Wall Street donors as a potential moderate alternative to Biden, is still considering whether to participate, a spokesman for his campaign said.

The biggest critics of Wall Street, however — Warren and Sanders — don’t intend to show up, their campaigns confirmed. “This is exactly what Sen. Sanders means when he talks about a corrupt political system,” Sanders spokesman Mike Casca said.

Rogers said whether candidates participate is up to “the political judgment of the campaigns.”

He added that “certain candidates have views toward financial institutions, and everything from capital requirements to other regulations. I myself am not an alarmist about those things.”

The firm’s political action committee doesn’t contribute to presidential campaigns. But Goldman employees have given them roughly $100,000, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics. Topping the list, through the end of October: Klobuchar ($29,500), Biden ($20,166) and Booker ($17,893). Trump has pulled in $3,886. Goldman workers are tilting Democratic with their congressional contributions this cycle, directing 53 percent of their dollars to the party’s candidates.

Financial regulation hasn’t come up at the candidate forums. Yepsen, the moderator, says Goldman has no input into the questions he asks. The hour-long session with Harris didn’t stay focused on the economy: It touched on job creation and the minimum wage but also covered immigration, gun control, criminal justice overhaul and health care.

Yet Goldman’s sponsorship was impossible to miss. The event was introduced by Des Moines Area Community College president Ron Denson, who touted the small-business program’s record helping its graduates expand their operations. Then the crowd heard from Elizabeth Hoppe, a coffee shop owner from Emmetsburg, Iowa, who credited her participation with enabling her to open a second location. She also thanked the bank for its “investment in small business and for providing these opportunities to discuss issues that impact our community.”

On the same stage, in July, Booker name-checked Goldman’s small-business effort as a model that should be expanded. “That shouldn’t be the exception; that should be the rule,” he said, “because we know the majority of our jobs that are being created in America are jobs being created by small businesses.”

Source: “financial regulation” – Google News

Blog: Almost Half Of America’s Banks Have Less Than Satisfactory Federal Reserve Supervisory Ratings – Forbes

Almost have of the banks in the U.S. do not have satisfactory supervisory ratings from the Federal … [+] Reserve.


On Tuesday, right as most Americans were running around doing last minute preparations for Thanksgiving, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System published the second annual ‘Supervision and Regulation Report.’ I flipped through the first couple of pages which highlight rising loan growth, especially in America’s regional banks, and improved capital and liquidity in the U.S. banking system in comparison to the 2008 financial crisis.

Given the technology, data, and risk management challenges that I see almost on a daily basis at banks, I have to admit that I found the report to be a lot more glowing than I would have expected. It took me until the bottom of page 13 to “Large financial institutions are in sound financial condition, although nonfinancial weaknesses remain.”  Nonfinancial refers to pretty important things like data quality, information technology infrastructure, internal controls, model risk management, and governance.

The report’s authors also stated that “Large financial institutions continue to remediate a significant number of supervisory findings (matters requiring attention (MRAs) or matters requiring immediate attention (MRIAs)). As a result, the number of outstanding supervisory findings has decreased over the past year for all groups of domestic and foreign firms.” While it is good that banks continue to remediate matters requiring attention, unfortunately, the report provides no details as to what the outstanding supervisory findings are, what banks have these supervisory problems,  and how the challenges were resolved.

Outstanding supervisory findings, large firms and foreign bank organizations

Source: Internal Federal Reserve supervisory data bases. Note: LISCC = Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee

I find it troubling that 45% of U.S. banks with more than $100 billion in assets have supervisory ratings that are less than satisfactory. The stability of these banks is important to our country. After the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve developed a supervisory program to address systemic risks posed by large banks. According to the Federal Reserve, “Firms with less-than-satisfactory ratings generally exhibit weaknesses in one or more areas such as compliance, internal controls, model risk management, operational risk management, and/or data and information technology (IT) infrastructure. Some firms also continue to exhibit weaknesses in their Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money-laundering (AML) programs.” 

Holding company ratings for firms > $100 billion

Federal Reserve Board

The report explains that over half of the supervisory findings issued in the last five years have been about governance and risk management control issues. Risk management means defining, identifying, measuring, controlling, and monitoring risks uniformly across all of a bank’s legal entities. Currently, sixty percent of outstanding supervisory findings are weaknesses in firms’ Banks Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering programs, internal audit functions, IT risk management (including cybersecurity), and model risk management. Moreover, the Federal Reserve also found that “There are also a number of outstanding supervisory findings related to how firms gather, validate, and report data for regulatory purposes.”

Outstanding supervisory findings by category, LISCC firms

Federal Reserve Board

Also of concern should be that over the last year, the percentage of outstanding governance and control issues supervisory findings has increased slightly. The Federal Reserve found that this is consistent with “supervisory concerns regarding weaknesses in these areas and improvements in capital planning and liquidity.” Additionally, Federal Reserve supervisors found that banks are at different stages of improving their technology platforms, data quality, and controls.

The report very briefly also stated that in some American banks, “outstanding supervisory findings relate to firms’ methods for developing assumptions used in internal stress tests and internal governance of capital models, as well as some areas of credit risk management.” If we cannot trust how modelers at banks are developing assumptions for stress tests and if there are problems with governance of capital models, I certainly question the validity of models and take no comfort that banks ‘are passing’ their stress tests. In addition, Federal Reserve supervisors have had to ask some banks to make additional improvements in liquidity risk management in order to meet fully supervisory expectations. “Examples include internal stress tests and cash flow forecasting capabilities.”

Large foreign bank organizations in the U.S. also continue to have long standing deficiencies with anti-money laundering and IT issues. Findings that the Federal Reserve uncovered in large FBOs over the last year included problems in cybersecurity and information security programs, including patch management, penetration testing, and privacy and also weaknesses in banks’ disaster recovery/business continuity planning.

Outstanding supervisory findings by category, LBO and non-LISCC FBO firms

Federal Reserve Board

Given the Federal Reserve’s findings about supervisory challenges, I am concerned about whether we really can trust all the positive information in the first thirteen pages of the report about capital, liquidity, and leverage ratio data. When banks have problems with risk data aggregation and exhibit IT infrastructure weaknesses, we should want more information as to the quality of capital, liquidity, and leverage ratio calculations. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve report does not tell us which banks have these problems. As taxpayers and investors, we need to be demanding more transparency about our banks, especially as we approach a recession. Moreover, with almost 50% of banks having less than satisfactory supervisory ratings, it is astounding that the Trump administration and bank lobbyists keep pushing for more deregulation. To protect regular Americans, we need more, not less regulation, of any bank not receiving at least a satisfactory supervisory rating.

Source: “financial regulation” – Google News

Blog: Pay day loans – Small loans tyler tx – personal loan – Laughlin Entertainer

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Source: “financial regulation” – Google News

Blog: Johnson ‘will have to call second referendum if he fails to win majority’ – The Guardian

Boris Johnson could be forced into holding a second referendum on Brexit next summer if he fails to win a majority in the House of Commons but remains as prime minister, according to a new report by academics at University College London.

The detailed analysis of how a referendum could be triggered, how long it would take, and how it would work concludes that a second public vote – in which the options would most likely be Johnson’s deal versus remaining in the EU – would be very much on the cards if the Conservatives are denied a majority, or are returned with only a very slender one, on 12 December.

The report – by UCL’s constitution unit in collaboration with research initiative UK in a Changing Europe – is a reminder of the high stakes, and high risk, of the election to Johnson. Although the latest Opinium poll for the Observer gives the Tories a 15-point lead over Labour with less than a fortnight until polling day, the gap has narrowed by four points since a week ago.

The UCL work comes as independent analysis suggests that crashing out of the EU next year would cause the national debt to rise by more than £220bn over the next five years – equivalent to an extra £8,000 of debt per household. The figure, which is more than this year’s government budget for health, social care, schools and local government combined, was contained in research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and highlighted by the Liberal Democrats.

Under Johnson’s plans, Britain will not extend the transition period with the European Union beyond the end of 2020, even if no trade deal is in place. The Lib Dems said the IFS research showed that, compared to its plan of stopping Brexit, crashing out would make national debt £221bn larger. Liberal Democrat deputy leader Ed Davey said: “If Boris Johnson gets his way and crashes us out of the EU without a deal at the end of 2020, he will create a tidal wave of debt that would jeopardise funding for our schools, hospitals and vital public services.”

Johnson has always insisted that he would never hold a second referendum and believes it would represent a betrayal of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU in 2016. However, the UCL team says that, without a majority and any realistic prospect of forming a durable coalition, the political reality may be that his government would “face a choice between introducing referendum legislation, or being unable to proceed with its Brexit deal”.

With the Democratic Unionist party opposed to the deal Johnson struck with Brussels, his prospects of forming a durable coalition to push Brexit through are likely to be limited. “Should the Conservatives fall short of an overall majority and be unable to form a stable alliance with the Brexit party or Northern Ireland’s unionist parties to block such a move, other parties and independent MPs would seek to use what parliamentary strength they had to pursue a referendum,” the report says. “The likeliest route is again for Johnson to reintroduce his EU (Withdrawal Agreement) bill, but for other parties to introduce amendments making its approval conditional on support for the deal in a public vote.”

Labour has said that it will renegotiate the Brexit deal within three months and hold a referendum, with an option to remain in the EU, within six months, if it wins the election.

The Liberal Democrats’ policy is to revoke article 50 and scrap Brexit altogether in the highly unlikely event that they form the next government.

The report says that the minimum time necessary to hold the referendum would be 22 weeks, making Labour’s timetable to renegotiate and hold a public vote within six months “very challenging” to deliver.

Before a referendum can take place, the UK parliament must pass primary legislation to give effect to the plans. Key issues that need to be included are the referendum question, the franchise, conduct rules for the vote, and the date on which it will be held.

During the bill’s passage the Electoral Commission has to “assess the intelligibility” of the referendum question – a process that takes about 12 weeks and is undertaken before the bill has passed its Commons stages.

While the report casts serious doubt on Labour’s referendum timetable, it says that “if a minority Conservative government found itself forced to hold a confirmatory referendum in order to pass its deal, such a referendum could probably be held by May or June 2020”.

Last week Johnson ruled out granting permission for a second vote on Brexit or Scottish independence in the event of a hung parliament. Speaking at the launch of the Scottish Conservatives’ manifesto in Fife, he said it was important to “honour democracy” and that backing second referendums “would be bad for the country”.

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Brexit backers stoked fears over Polish workers pouring in. Now one is a London Bridge hero. – The Washington Post

As one tweet put it: “Some people in the UK: We don’t need foreigners living in our country. Łukasz, the Polish chef who tackled the killer on London Bridge: Pass me my five foot Narwhal tusk!”

British authorities have not formally named the man, but British media has identified him by the first name Luckasz. Polish speakers, however, have pointed out his name is more likely spelled Lukasz.

Speaking on Saturday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan praised the man’s heroism and confirmed he is of Polish origin.

“One of the great things about London is its diversity, so I’m not surprised at all,” said Khan. “When I say ‘the best of us,’ I include E.U. citizens as well.”

Others on social media seconded the sentiment. “If a Polish chef attacking a terrorist with a whale horn can’t unite our country I don’t know what can,” one user wrote on Twitter.

The attack took place Friday near Fishmonger’s Hall, a historic building now used as an events space. The Polish man reportedly worked in the service industry there, according to news reports. When the attack began, he grabbed the closest thing he could find to arm himself — a five-foot narwhal tusk.

The British newspaper the Times interviewed the man’s colleagues who said he was “cut in the hand but not in critical condition.”

“Being stabbed didn’t stop him giving him [the attacker] a beating,” the colleague said. “Luckasz is a hero.”

Queen Elizabeth II also praised the bravery of the Polish man, and another bystander who intervened with a fire extinguisher. “I express my enduring thanks to the police and emergency services, as well as the brave individuals who put their own lives at risk to selflessly help and protect others,” she said.

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: EU plot for ‘brutal Brexit reckoning’ exposed in plan to punish Boris with shock demands –

The European Union plans to crush the UK during the next phase of talks, after Britain officially leaves the EU, according to EU sources. If Boris Johnson achieves a Conservative majority at the 12 December general election, he has pledged to “get Brexit done” by leaving the EU at the end of January. He has also promised to strike a free trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020, insisting he will not sign up to any more extensions.

However, Brussels insiders have warned that the EU are plotting a nightmare negotiation for Boris Johnson if he is elected Prime Minister.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Brussels reporter Jonah Hull revealed what sources had told him: “If you think negotiating the withdrawal agreement was tough, say Brexit-watchers here in Brussels, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

“There is talk of a brutal reckoning for UK negotiators as they get to grip with the future relationship, complete with uncomfortable compromises, prolonged uncertainty and yet more nail-biting deadlines to come.”

Fiercely anti-Brexit MEP Sophie In ’T Veld echoed this, claiming that Boris Johnson was not telling the truth about the trade talks.

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She said: “For him it is much easier to sell people this story.

“It will be very difficult, people often make comparisons with the trade negotiations we had with Canada.

“Canada is probably the most European country on Earth. They are very close to us.

“And yet, it took seven years to negotiate and it still hasn’t been ratified.”

Andrew Gray from Politico EU remarked that the deadline for another extension would surface in the middle of the year.

He explained: “We have already had several cliff-edges in this process. We actually have one coming up before the end of next year because there will have to be a decision about whether to extend the transition period in the middle of the year.

“So the time to strike a trade deal, if everything goes to plan, wold be very short.”


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Earlier this week, Boris Johnson reiterated his no deal threat, after he confirmed that the Tories would remain in a “state of readiness” for leaving the EU without a deal on December 31, 2020.

The Prime Minister said there was “no reason to dismantle” preparations for a no deal Brexit.

This is despite previous suggestions such an outcome was off-the-table because he had an “oven-ready” deal he would push through Parliament if he wins a working majority.

Mr Johnson said he thought the Government’s previous no deal arrangements were “useful” in convincing Brussels the UK was serious about leaving.

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Johnson: Will protect farmers, businesses in Brexit – NWAOnline

story.lead_photo.captionBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media conference in London, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised Friday to bolster protections for British businesses and farmers once the country has exited the European Union.

However, critics said Johnson is struggling to move Britain’s election debate away from questions about his character, saying he was brushing aside criticism of his past comments about single mothers and his current refusal to submit to the same amount of televised scrutiny as other party leaders.

At a news conference, Johnson claimed Brexit had been “delayed, diluted, denied” by obstructive politicians. He said that if the Conservatives win the Dec. 12 election, he would take the U.K. out of the European Union on the currently scheduled date of Jan. 31, so that “we can finally move on as a country.”

He touted what he called the benefits of the departure from the 28-nation trade bloc, saying his government would introduce new state-aid rules allowing the government to step in to help struggling businesses. The level of support that EU governments can give industries is now limited by regulations barring anything that might distort competition.

Johnson also vowed to scrap an EU-required tax on tampons and sanitary pads and to introduce a requirement for public bodies to buy British produce rather than imports.

Promising more state intervention in the economy is reminiscent of the left-of-center Labor Party, rather than the free-marketeer Conservatives, and appears designed to help the party, popularly called the Tories, win over Brexit-backing Labor supporters.

All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs in the Dec. 12 election, which is being held more than two years early after Parliament became deadlocked over Brexit.

Johnson wants to secure a Conservative majority in the election so he can push through the Brexit divorce deal he negotiated with the EU. Under the terms of that deal, the U.K. would leave the EU on Jan. 31 but remain bound by the bloc’s rules until the end of 2020.

On Friday, Johnson repeated his assertion that Britain and the EU will be able to strike a new free trade deal by the end of next year, a time scale trade experts say is wildly ambitious.

“I am full of optimism and confidence and suggest that everybody else should be as well,” he said.

But Johnson also announced plans to diverge from EU rules in significant ways, which would make it harder to retain close trade ties with the bloc. And he said he would not extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020, even if no trade deal was in place.

Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would plunge Britain into recession and severely impede commerce with the EU.

The governing Conservatives are upbeat about their chances in the elections. With less than two weeks until polling day, they are keen to limit the prime minister’s opportunities for gaffes and slip-ups.

That has led to allegations that Johnson is dodging scrutiny. Johnson declined to take part in a debate Thursday alongside his main opponent, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labor Party, and other party leaders. Johnson has so far refused to commit to a one-on-one TV interview with BBC interrogator Andrew Neil.

“I’ve done plenty of debates,” Johnson told radio station LBC on Friday. “I can’t do absolutely everything.”

The Conservatives were also embroiled in a feud with broadcaster Channel 4 over the network’s decision to put an Earth-shaped ice sculpture in place of Johnson after he declined to appear for Thursday’s climate change-themed TV debate.

The party complained to Britain’s broadcast watchdog, Ofcom, over what it called “a provocative partisan stunt.”

Five party leaders joined the debate. Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage declined to attends.

Johnson has faced questions about his character throughout the campaign. The prime minister has a history of making offensive remarks, including a newspaper column last year in which he compared women who wear face-covering veils to “letter boxes.”

This week the Labor Party unearthed an article Johnson wrote in conservative magazine the Spectator in 1995 in which he called the children of single mothers “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate.”

A Section on 11/30/2019

Print Headline: Johnson: Will protect farmers, businesses in Brexit

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Source: “brexit” – Google News