New York Business News

Some businesses are expanding into New York.  Two of note are Toronto-investment bank Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. and skincare company Glossier.

With its upcoming expansion and move Canaccord will be able to offer its Latin American institutional clients access to global markets, providing equity and fixed-income sales and trading.  According to new MD of the firm, Alejandro Rebelo, the reasoning behind this move is clear: “Latin America fund managers are treated like kings in their own nations, but aren’t big enough to get all the attention needed from large international banks.”

Further, this will provide Canaccord with more revenue within the firm’s US securities umbrella.  And as Global Head of Sales and Trading Mark Whaling said, staff there will comprise “largely U.S. equities focused, but also will do business in options and fixed income, which represent about 20 percent of their revenue base.”

NYC will also now be home to Glossier, with the added benefit of 200 more jobs at the company’s new headquarters.  Located at One SoHo Square, 161 6th Avenue, Glossier in 2017 was named one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2017 by Fast Company Magazine.

Agreement Reached!

Following on from last week’s post when we discussed the hope of a budgetary agreement enabling students under a certain household income to receive free tuition for CUNY and SUNY, this happened.  New York State’s budget increased by 2% to $98 billion, encompassing a 4% increase for education

Here, News World TV gives the latest.

New Fiscal Benefits to NY Students

Putting a kid through college in America is not a fiscally simple feat. Nationwide, it is pricey. Looking at New York as one example, the City University of New York put out a table for how much it would cost a New York state resident living at home for tuition. For 2016-27, at State University of New York Systems (SUNY) it’s $6,470, the City University of New York (CUNY), $6,330 and a private college, $36,630.

Now though, that could all change. With a deal recently announced by Andrew Cuomo together with state legislative leaders, tuition at both CUNY AND SUNY could be free. For families with an annual income of up to $125,000 sending kids to community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, the plan – phased in over three years – would start this September beginning with those with incomes up to $100,000. Having been hailed as an “historic” move an estimated 940,000 New York families would be eligible for this program, once it is fully in system.

Although it appears that all would be rosy, there are some concerns – even for pro-free public college tuition advocates. The issue is the conditions. For one to receive free tuition, they have to provide proof that they are living and working in the state of New York for the same time period that they are getting the free tuition. The only loopholes in this are if recipients need to leave a) to finish their undergraduate education, b) enroll in graduate school or c) extreme hardship.

In addition, there are two other measures contained in the plan to enhance college affordability:

  1. $8 million for the promotion and distribution of free online educational materials for SUNY and CUNY students.
  2. A grant of up to $3,000 for students attending private NY colleges with such colleges matching the grants and freezing tuition while the grant is in place.

NY’s Labor Law Policies

There are currently no laws/regulations in New York that deal with payroll debit cards and how to use them.  According to the NYDOL (New York Department of Labor), when used voluntarily, payroll debit cards are allowed. Last year a rule was established by the NYDOL for supplementary requirements to use direct deposit consent forms as well as payment by payroll debit card – a rule that was meant to become effective last month.

As such, for those employers paying their employees with payroll debit cards, they would not be able to use this for paying salaries without the employee being able to use at least one ATM offering withdrawal with no fees as well as a way of withdrawing the entire salary for each pay period or the remaining balance (without having to pay a fee).

However, a month before it was to become law, it was invalidated and revoked by the New York State Industrial Board of Appeal, reasoning that the NYDOL did not have the authority to take on the rule due to prohibitions and restrictions outside the Labor Code. The rules, argued the Board “go beyond regulation of the employment relationship and into the area of banking law, which is outside respondent’s competence and expertise in the regulation of employment and occupational safety and health.”

Furthermore, employers are not allowed to prevent employees from asking about/discussing their wages with a colleague.  Employers are allowed to restrict employees who have access to salary data of other employees, according to New York Labor Law §194(4).

Contained in a fact sheet provided by the NYDOL, on the matter of regulated speech between employees, it was written that: “[s]uch restrictions may not specifically reference the inquiry, discussion, and disclosure of wages.” Thus employers would be allowed to tell staff members to discuss matters directly related to their job duties during designated work periods, but this cannot be extended to salary discussions.

Impact of New York’s PFL

For years, campaigns have been undertaken to fight for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits throughout the nation.  New York finally has its own Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (article 9 of the Workers Compensation Law), that is to become effective January 1, 2018. As it is New Yorkers have been doing well over the years being one of very few states that force employers to give disability benefit coverage to workers for illness or injury (caused out of work time).

Now, New York’s PFL is making things even better. The result of Governor Cuomo’s New York State’s 2016-17 Budget, once in place, this will mean that anyone who has worked for at least 26 consecutive weeks (175 days for part-time workers) will be eligible for paid family leave benefits.  In addition, these individuals will have the right to a leave of absence and guaranteed reinstatement.  This would also be the case for those who do not come under the protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For employers this law will enforce a review of family and medical leave policies, benefits, agreements, etc. in an attempt to ensure full compliance.

 

Family-Owned NY Businesses

According to Westfair Communications correspondent Peter Katz, “family-owned businesses form the foundation of the U.S. economy.” Statistically this means that around 64 percent of America’s GDP comes from these businesses with 36 percent of all employees working in the family businesses.  In addition, for the economy, 40 to 46 percent of all annual sales come from family-owned businesses.

But how successful are these family-run businesses?  According to recent data from the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, only 16 percent of businesses are successfully transmitted from a founder to the next generation.  The numbers continue to diminish through each generation, reaching a mere 2 percent by the fourth generation.

But there is some good news for New Yorkers, as was seen at the 2017 award ceremony for Westchester and Fairfield counties’ family businesses.  According to Dee DelBello, Westfair Communications Publisher, these counties comprise “the most diverse, successful and community-minded family businesses…Family-owned businesses are the backbone of our country and its economy, and that’s just as true for Westchester and Fairfield counties.”

One of the award winners was Mamaroneck’s Walter’s Hot Dog Stand.  Recipient Christine Warrington accepted the award together with her children.  She is a third generation family member to run the company which was launched in 1919 by her grandparents.  Today, her three children aged 39, 31 and 27 are all working to “continue the legacy of Walter’s.”

if so much of America’s economy is dependent on family-run businesses, wouldn’t it make sense for more people to at least give it a try?

Bolstering NYC Businesses

Businesses in New York are getting boosts from a few different industries.  Two which are of particular note are the NYC Love Your Local and the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline.

A new approach has been put in place by the Department of Small Business Services with its establishment of the NYC Love Your Local. Created in order to “celebrate and promote small businesses throughout the five boroughs,” New Yorkers are being encouraged to share their favorite businesses (independent and non-franchised). Thereafter these will be included in an online interactive map.  As Gregg Bishop, commissioner for the Department of Small Business services pointed out, “

“Independent, small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and the ‘NYC Love Your Local’ initiative recognizes and supports their vital role in the fabric of New York City. New York City is full of unique neighborhoods that are given character by local merchants and entrepreneurs. New Yorkers should share their favorite neighborhood business and be sure to share their love.”

It is hoped that this initiative will creatively encourage people to make purchases in local stores, which in turn will provide more access to capital for these businesses and improve their services.

Mayor de Blasio’s NYC Tech Talent Pipeline is meanwhile seeing an investment of $1 million into the program that brings together students and tech jobs.  While de Blasio set this up three years ago (and has over that time brought together educational institutes with NYC’s booming technology industry), now new tech

apprenticeships and internships  are being offered at top level firms such as Accenture, IBM and Verizon.

Milk Punch Revival with Eamon Rockey

If you live in New York and haven’t heard of the milk punch revival yet, you may want to take note. Milk punch has been popping up as the hottest new trend in alcoholic beverages. It is a sweet, cold blend of milk and liquor that actually dates back centuries.

The drinks are made with cold ingredients that are combined with hot milk to make the milk curdle. The blend is then filtered repeatedly until the liquid actually becomes clear, which can take hours. It then rests for a day or so until served.

Where can such a dream drink be found? Play, a cocktail bar in Midtown, has a Korovazon Milk Punch that is made with pisco. And Eamon Rockey made a strong push to revive the art of milk punch production at the New York restaurant, Betony.

Eamon Rockey reports to the New York Times that he first encountered milk punch at Bar Pleaiades on the Upper East Side in 2009 and he soon adopted the idea, turning it into quite an art in the process. While the ingredients are typically combined beforehand with milk punch, Eamon Rockey’s creations have a milk punch “base” and then offer the drinker the chance to select the spirit to place into it.

As Rockey explained, “I wanted to have there be a guest-specific evolution. It’s antithetical to what the drink classically is.”

As described on Eater.com, “The whole process takes between one and five days…and exhibits Rockey’s obsession with re-inventing history and personalizing a classic recipe using flavors like Watermelon and Golden Beet & Goat’s Milk.”

Castle Harlan Has Case Dismissed

In recent news, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division just dismissed a seven-count complaint that was brought by the Russian-owned companies Norcast S.ár.l and Pala Investments Ltd. against Castle Harlan Inc. In 2011, Castle Harlan purchased a Canadian mining products company, Norcast Wear Solutions, and the plaintiffs claimed that Castle Harlan purchased it from them for $190 million in a private sale and sold in four hours later for a higher price. Castle Harlan was cleared of all wrong doing, as the Appellate Division, First Department explained that there was not a no-flip clause in the share purchase agreement and that no actionable wrongdoing could be proven.

Employment Gains in New York

Thanks to Spotify an additional 1,000 jobs will soon be available to New Yorkers.  With the upcoming move of company headquarters to Manhattan at 4 World Trade Center from its current location in Sweden, in early next year and the “World Trade Center Rent Reduction Program rent credits” being bestowed on the company from the Empire State Development (ESD), substantial growth for the firm is anticipated.

Snapchat and Etsy have also received such credits from ESD.  All of this is an effort to keep talent in New York and such tax incentives have helped to create nearly 2,000 jobs while retaining more than 1,500 in the state of New York.

Indeed, looking at figures from the end of last year we see that Rochester had some impressive gains in the job market.  Both the non-farm and private sector encountered a spike (4,400 and 4,200 respectively) in employment while the region’s overall unemployment rate remained static at 4.7 percent from 2015. And then the Solar foundation reported a record high level of employment with 260,077 workers in late 2016 (with a growth of at least 20 percent for four consecutive years).

Finally according to a recent article by PYMNTS, “the economy is showing continued growth in everything from consumer spending and job growth to manufacturing,” based on data from a report in The New York Times.  Retail sales increased 0.4 percent in January (0.8 percent when auto sales are excluded), and the Consumer Price Index increased by 0.6 percent.

So there is room for optimism for New Yorkers when it comes to the economy.  Post-election panic is perhaps not as necessary as it may have been anticipated.