Category Archives: Economy

De Blasio’s Tale of Two Cities

How much has de Blasio done to tackle New York’s age-old issue of being a “tale of two cities”?  Some would say quite a bit; others would say it’s just the economy that has fueled the impact of change.   But given that he ran on a platform of tackling this as it was the “defining issue of the day,” the question we must ask is, has he?  And if so, how much?

Still, when it comes to wages (increasing) and unemployment (decreasing) during his time, people are quick to see him in a positive light.  And the President.  And the government.  Or at least, the previous government which enjoyed “the longest economic expansion in the city [of New York’s] history.”

As Samar Khurshid recently noted, due to the economic climate though, de Blasio has worked toward putting policies in place that reduce inequality, in large part by developing the size and scope of city government.  But bear in mind that de Blasio has not (yet) had to encounter any crazy economic crisis or even stressors which would impact his progressive policies on the slashing of large government expenditures.

De Blasio is however, currently exercising caution with a partial hiring freeze on city agencies while focusing on the stimulation of private sector job growth via city government levers.

Over the years what he has done is this: put “progressivism” as an economic strategy as a top priority.  Right now he seems pretty undefeatable in a re-election.

NY: Escalating Wineries

While New York today boasts 140 wineries, 35 years ago there were around 10!  According to a prior head of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, Jim Trezise (who now leads a national association advocating for the entire wine industry in America), the wine industry has significantly expanded its economic presence in Finger Lakes. Given that it is today commonplace to find good restaurants at wineries and the region is often regarded as one of the world’s “top wine country destinations,” things really are changing.

Indeed, it has been estimated by the 2017 Economic Impact Report on the American Wine Industry that wine country regions will generate around 43 million tourist visits and $17.7 b in annual tourism expenditures.

And New York is definitely doing its part.  Indeed, the total number jumped from $9.4b in 2012 to $13.8b this year – an increase of over 45% in just five years – with New York ranking number 2 in the country’s wine industry list (California holding the first spot).

According to New York Wine and Grape Foundation President Sam Filler:

“New York continues to expand its impact and growth as a leading wine producing state. Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo and our state Legislature deserve credit for their work on improving New York’s business climate by modernizing the state’s alcohol beverage laws and reducing regulatory burdens. Their continued partnership and support will ensure that the New York wine and grape industry continues its national leadership role.”



Fees seem to be disproportionately high for New York’s ATM users.  Indeed, New Yorkers are encountering the second highest average out-of-network fees in a recent survey conducted among 25 major metropolitan regions.  In 2016 they ranked number 6; and now it has worsened, given that per transaction the fee has elevated to an average of $5.14 (from $4.86).

One explanation of this came from CEO and President of the Cooperate Credit Union Association, Paul Gentile who said:

“No offense, but the big banks dominate the New York City footprint — and they have some of the biggest fees. New York is also one of the most expensive cities in the country, so some people are more willing to pay ATM fees there, compared to other locations, like the Midwest.”

New York is not alone in over-exorbitant ATM machine fees though.  The same survey found that they have increased over 50% in the last decade, nationwide.  The average has increased $3.03 per transaction since 2007.

New York Tax News

According to the Treasury Secretary, should the proposed tax overhaul come to fruition, it will be most helpful to businesses and the middle class.  The idea, according to Steven Mnuchin, is to: “create a middle-income tax cut, [making] businesses competitive and creat[ing] jobs,”

Trump emphasized this sentiment calling it the “largest tax cut in the history of our country.”  He added that this tax overhaul is his main goal right now, rather than focusing on a repeal of Obamacare.  It has been a work in progress over the last few months.  while nothing is yet set in stone, Trump is “hopeful” that there will be a 15% reduction in top corporate tax rate (from its current 35%) and the individual rate to drop to between 10-12%, with the hope of “bringing back jobs,” and aiding middle class and businesses.

Meanwhile, a $9.4 million tax-break package was just approved by New York City’s industrial development agency for Aetna Inc.  This is at the time that the US-managed 3rd largest health company is moving its headquarters away from Connecticut to New York (Manhttan).  As a tax incentive, the package Aetna is receiving from NYC is up to $5 million in sales tax benefits,  $3.6 million in property tax abatements over 10 years and $782,000 in energy bill discounts.


Silverfern Group & Its Unique Platform

The Silverfern Group’s unique platform was recently discussed in the German institutional investment-magazine Portfolio Institutionell. With founders and co-Manager Partners Clive Holmes and Reeta Holmes, the company utilizes collaboration to set their strategies in motion. They bring together families from across the globe to create a network of locals and their on-the-ground insights into international markets and trends.

What started out as a small group of 20 investors has flourished to become a leading asset manager for alternative assets in countries including New York, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Sydney, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Explore how a family office became a global trend in this insightful article from Portfolio Institutionell.

In Brief: What the US Dollar is Up To

The dollar jumped against a slew of currencies that measure its broader strength earlier this month.  A four month peak was reached against the yen on the back of the numbers at the beginning of the month’s 25 basis-point rise in 10 year US government bond yields.  According to co-head of Millennium Global, Richard Benson: “The real story at the moment is the rise in U.S. real yields.  That does look like being the theme for the moment. Dollar yen is properly supported, and I don’t think there is even that much participation yet (in that trade).”

It has also been speculated that the US dollar could advance against the pound, following the Fed’s Labour Market Conditions Report, expecting to indicate an enhancement of market conditions that may spark some appreciation in the US dollar.

Other impacts on markets at the moment are central bank events, with anticipated raised interest rates imposed from the Bank of Canada and data indicates the economy in Britain looks gloomy suggesting an interest rate hike there later this year.

NY: Federal Reserve News

Herewith some of the latest news blurbs connected to New York’s Federal Reserve.

  1. A recent report from the NY Federal Reserve indicated that expectations of consumer inflation had actually gone down. For the numbers for 2020, the expectations hit their lowest point since January 2016.
  2. On June 19, William Dudley, President of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, participated in a roundtable breakfast meeting in Plattsburgh with local business leaders.
  3. Dudley also met with military installation leaders and Watertown Chamber of Commerce members.
  4. Meanwhile, Charles Evans, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President, addressed the Money Marketeers of New York University about economic conditions and monetary policy.

Meanwhile, in some good news for the economy it was reported by government that unemployment hit its lowest figure in 16 years, dropping to 4.3 percent.

Clive Holmes Silverfern: Latest Investment

The Silverfern Group, with Co-Managing Partner Clive Holmes has made a recent investment, which is their fifth portfolio follow-up investment in the last 18 months.

They have completed a follow-up into the Silverfern portfolio company Broad River Power Holdings. Broad River Power Holdings is a 5×0 Simple Cycle Generating Facility that produces electricity as part of its long-term tolling agreement with Gaffney, South Carolina. The units are able to be on the grid and they can help to supply power within 15 minutes during peak times or during emergencies.

As Silverfern’s Clive Holmes explained, “The opportunity to expand our investment in Broad River in partnership with Arroyo further demonstrates that by partnering with lead investors with deep industry and local knowledge, we can identify and access value where other investors may not be able to do so. Capturing this value on investment allows Silverfern to potentially deliver a higher return to our investors than might otherwise be commensurate with the risk underwritten in an infrastructure investment such as Broad River.”

When describing Broad River, Silverfern Managing Director Brooks Klimley said, “Broad River is a modern, efficient facility that is playing an increasingly important role in the provision of clean, reliable electricity to consumers in North and South Carolina.”

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?