Category Archives: News

Minimum Wage Increases

The first city in America that is enforcing minimum wage for app-based drivers (such as Uber, Juno, etc.) is New York City.  At the end of this month, the new pay rules will ensure that all drivers irrespective of which company they work for will be paid $17.22 at least per hour after expenses.

The rule came after a vote in favor of the law was carried by the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission at the end of last month.

According to Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro this resulted in “desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families.”  In a statement he added that:

“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America. We are thankful to the Mayor, Commissioner Joshi and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, City Council Member Brad Lander and all of the city officials who listened to and stood up for drivers.”

NYC enacted its minimum wage law in 2016 with the first increase on 31 December of that year to $11.  Only by 2021 is the minimum wage for NYC workers to reach $15.

Minimum Wage in NY

Most New Yorker’s appreciate the increase in minimum wage.

Since 2016, minimum wage has been rising, from $9.70 an hour to a projected increase of $15 an hour by 2021. The rise in minimum wage means that employees can maintain a better standard of living.

“New York proudly set an example for the nation by raising the minimum wage to $15,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “The fight for economic justice for our working families continues, and we won’t stop until every New Yorker is paid the fair wages they deserve.”

However, some New Yorker’s are concerned that the increase in minimum wage means that employees will reduce their hours. Small business owners with limited budgets may find themselves unable to pay their employees.

Most New Yorker’s, however, are greeting the change in minimum wage optimistically.

Hedvig Hricak Receives David Rall Medal

In 2002, Hedvig Hricak was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies – America’s “most prestigious medical society.”  Since then her work in the field has given rise to significant recognition, as her recent acceptance of the David Rall Medal illustrates. (Hedvig Hricak‘s bio from the European Society of Radiology.)

The medal – “awarded to a member of the National Academy of Medicine who has demonstrated particularly distinguished leadership as a chair of a study committee or other such activities in a manner that was particularly exemplary, demonstrating a commitment substantially above and beyond the usual expectations of a committee chair” – was presented to Hedvig Hricak in recognition of her “valuable contributions to the activities and efforts of the NAM and National Academies.”

The two other honorees this year were Elaine L. Larson and Nicholas Peppas.  Larson holds a few roles including: senior associate dean of scholarship and research,  Anna C. Maxwell Professor of Nursing Research, and Columbia Professor of Epidemiology.  Peppas is: a professor and director of the Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine and the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #6 at Texas University.

 

 

 

New York Rentals

Between 1945-63, there were commercial rent controls in the city of New York.  That has long gone so how are small businesses in the region meant to thrive? Indeed, in 2016 Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce member Patricia Dorfman said:

“It feels as though a great tsunami is coming towards us: big real estate dominating the city. You’re talking about life rafts and water wings when a tsunami is coming.”

So what plans are there to rectify this?  At the end of next month the plan is for a hearing to be held on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a Bill sponsored by Ydanis Rodriguez.  Should it come to fruition it would mean landlords would have to give commercial tenants 180 days before lease expiration on whether it will be renewed and if not, provide a “valid legal reason.”  A 10 year lease could also be offered, thus putting tenants in a more powerful position to “demand arbitration if they believe the rent increase is too much.”

According to Friends of SBJSA member David Eisenbach there is “extreme optimism that the essential principles of the bill will remain intact.”

It is hoped that the hearing will provide an opportunity for policymakers to hear real stories about the closing of small businesses in New York City due to lack of control over rent increases.

Before getting too excited though, according to a recent article in The Real Deal by David Jeans, the law: “would not stand up in court…lacks legal grounding and has been proposed several times in the past.”  It would also cause “inconsistencies with state law.”

Networking, Networking, Networking

In a recent Forbes article, seven Forbes New York Business Council members put out their recommendations for New York annual events they find useful:

  1. Philip Smith of PJP Marketing Inc. recommends the Affiliate Summit East for digital marketing
  2. Henry Croft of Henry’s recommends the annual Raw Wine fair for networking in the industry.
  3. Yana Zaidiner of Token Payments Inc. says New York has too many wonderful opportunities to just recommend one and that it really is industry dependent.
  4. Steven Libman of Integrity Holdings Group, LLC recommends his annual joint chamber event on the beach attended by local chambers of commerce for networking and fun.
  5. Peter Renzulli of Bookkeepers To Go Inc., likes the Casino Night for Garden of Dreams event.
  6. Sergio Mannio of Sergio Mannio Studio believes the NYCxDESIGN provides a wonderful way for designers to see what others are doing locally and globally.
  7. Yasir Ali of Rivews recommends industry-based events such as those on Facebook, Meetup and Eventbrite.

Female Powerhouses: New York

There are many women in New York making a difference in the world, holding senior positions, researching into new medical areas, or making their mark in the traditionally  male-dominated business world.  Here we look at three: radiology dynamite Hedvig Hricak, educational maven Kathryn Wylde and political powerhouse Melissa DeRosa.

In 2010, Hedvig Hricak was appointed president of the Radiological Society of North America.  Of this appointment, Elias Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said:

“It is hard to find an individual with a more extraordinary character or career in our field, despite the richness and diversity of our profession and its many remarkable leaders.”

Hricak is chair of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC),  a professor of radiology at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College (New York, NY), and has spent many years researching the roles of MRI in genitourinary malignancies.

Kathryn Wylde began her career as a housing organizer in Brooklyn.  Today she is President and CEO of The Partnership for New York City, Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce Inc.  She has been instrumental in the establishment and supervision of affordable housing and economic development programs, with the development of many pioneering programs in this vein.  To get to where she is today she held various roles in educational and economic industries including being Urban Affairs Officer with Anchor Savings Banks and Deputy Chairperson of the Federal Reserve Bank. Today she is known around the world for her expertise in economic development, housing and urban policy.

Politically-speaking one cannot find a more senior unelected role in the New York State government than Melissa de Rosa’s one.  As the first female Secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo (appointed at age 34), she holds a tremendous amount of power.  Having been raised in a political home, breakfast discussions centered around local budgetary issues and de Rosa spoke her opinion on these from age 9.  At 16 she was an intern for the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O’s political director.  Other political positions she held before arriving in Cuomo’s office include: Obama’s national political action organization, working with Eric T. Schneiderman. Of her expertise, Governor Bill Murrow said:

“She’s very savvy on the intersection of policy and politics. And she has a real granular feel for how to execute things.”

Schneiderman echoed this sentiment by referring to de Rosa a “quadruple threat.”

 

 

M&A’s in New York

Lots of business movement in New York.  Here we look at AppNexus and Health Plus Management.

Having earned a reputation as “one of the hottest names in the ad tech industry” following its 2014 $1.2 billion VC valuation, it was hardly surprising that it was going to go to the next level of being sucked up by a major corporation or going public.  In this case it is AT&T which reaps the benefit in its alleged purchase deal worth approximately $1.6 billion.    The idea behind this purchase is AT&Ts bringing AppNexus into its newly created advertising and analytics business.  The move is also indicative of AT&Ts recognition of the importance of voluminous customer data to more effectively sell adds in various formats.

Moving to a completely different industry we learn of the recent plans by Health Plus Management LLC to purchase Advanced PMR Management.  According to CEO and founder of Health Plus, Stuart Blumberg:

“Advanced PMR epitomizes stellar services and consummate patient care. We are thrilled to take on management and support of APMR and we expect tremendous success in working together to develop APMR into a strong, multi-specialty, platform for best in class rehab care in NJ.”

This move will create the environment for Health Plus’s development of a presence in New Jersey, in a way that it has done since its establishment almost two-and-a-half decades ago.

 

Hedge Fund Reality: Death or Revitalization?

Eighteen months ago, finance experts believed the hedge fund industry was losing power as a global player in the finance world.  So much so that according to Tabby Kinder, the Hedge Fund Standards Board was “debating a name change in an effort to distance itself from a term that [had] become increasingly contentious.”

But that was last year. A lot can change in 12 months and today the hedge fund industry is bouncing back.  Rob Copeland wrote in a WSJ article:

“The average hedge fund is up 5.4% … while stock-focused hedge funds have gained 8.31%, [and] Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 11.9% including dividends, while the traditional 60-40 split of stocks and bonds would have earned 8.9%.”

Looking more closely at the winners in this hedge fund revitalization we see New York hedge fund Brahman Capital.  Copeland explains the story of Brahman Capital Corp’s rise of its “big bet on hedge-fund favorite Valeant Pharmaceuticals” that initially plummeted, resulting in Brahman’s own fall with investors taking their money out.  But then Brahman came back, selling the stock “and with what is now $3.8 billion of remaining cash pivoted to new ideas…[Today], Brahman’s main fund is up 17%.”

Copeland’s conclusion that “the gloom that had beset hedge funds [a couple of years ago] is [now] lifting and even giving way to outright optimism.”  Indeed, according to Pacific Alternative Asset Management Co partner Alper Ince, “it just feels better” and if Brahman Capital’s example is anything to go by, Ince’s words lead us to believe that the reality of hedge funds today is closer to revitalization than a near demise.