Category Archives: News

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.

 

Inviting Business Women to New York!

New York is encouraging women and minority groups to New York. Those who own companies in the area are being invited to join the hub of New York and open their businesses there. Investing $40 million into this promotion, the city of New York is very serious about this.

This money will be used to help these companies – often left out in the cold – to access affordable loans. As well there is a new M/WBE program ad campaign featuring local success stories to encourage these companies to relocate.

Hopefully this initiative will reverse the trend coined by Market Watch analyst that found “female managers are not only under-represented in technology companies, they’re also paid significantly less than men.”

Hedge Fund Strategies in Flux: The 21st Century Revolution of Wall Street

Hedge fund executives were a different breed in the 1980s and 1990s to what they are today.  Back then, hedge fund executives were working within a “culture of tough guy traders.”

Paloma Partners founder Donald Sussman recalls how in 1998, 37-year-old Columbia University computer science professor David Shaw – who had been working at Morgan Stanley with a “new secretive trading group that was using computer modeling” – asked for his opinion  on an  offer he had received from Goldman Sachs.

“Sussman’s career has been built on recognizing and financing hedge-fund talent, but he had never encountered anyone like David Shaw. The cerebral computer scientist would go on to become a pioneer in a revolution in finance that would computerize the industry, turn long-standing practices on their head, and replace a culture of tough-guy traders with brainy eccentrics — not just math and science geeks, but musicians and writers — wearing jeans and T-shirts.”

Shaw – and partner Peter Leventhol – “convinced [Sussman that] they could generate models that would identify portfolios that would be market-neutral and able to outperform others.”  In other words, a large amount of money would be made generating minimal risk.

Sussman recommended Shaw rejecting the Goldman Sachs’ offer and Paloma Partners made a $30 million investment with D.E. Shaw.  Today the company “has grown into an estimated $47 billion firm, earning its investors more than $25 billion — as of the end of 2016, tied for the third biggest haul ever.”

This is more than just a story about a successful company. It has resulted in a “quantitative revolution [which] has become the biggest trend in hedge funds today, capturing some $500 billion of the industry’s more than $3 trillion in assets and dominating the top tier. Seven out of the top ten largest funds are considered ‘quants,’ including D.E. Shaw itself.”

The massive transformation of strategy has resulted in a situation in which it has become “cheaper and easier for all investors to get into the game, leading to an explosion in trading volume.”

And that can be dated back to a preliminary chat Donald Sussman had with David Shaw in 1998.

 

ECS Federal Acquisition

On Assignment – America’s 2nd largest IT staffing firm – is in the process of purchasing the service technology and engineering company ECS Federal for $775 million (in cash).  Once the sale goes ahead, the current CEO George Wilson will remain at the helm with his management team.  Indeed, Wilson said that the firm will remain with the “same strategy, same management team, more resources.”   One thing will change slightly though is the name; on April 2, 2018, when it is all final, the company will be called ASGN Inc.

Roy Kapani will be leaving the firm he established in 2001 but is very positive about the move calling it a “terrific outcome for our company, partners and talented employees.”

In its investor presentation, a deeper comprehension into the sale was put forward:

“One of the largest inhibitors of growth in the federal sector is timely finding and placing technical talent.  On Assignment’s recruiting capabilities will enhance ECS’ performance and value proposition versus government services peers.”

The opportunities that will be available after this acquisition will be access to greater “digital, creative and life sciences [as well as providing clients of On Assignment with] access to ECS’ cyber, cloud, artificial intelligence and agile development capabilities.”

Life and Work in New York

What is it like to really live and work in New York?  For those thinking about the move, is this really doable?  And, if so, is it a real challenge or do the benefits outweigh the difficulties?  Here we take a very brief look at some of the factors to be considered.

First off the infamous WeWork phenomenon – that is not news in an of itself – is reaching a new level.  Instead of simply using the space for work one can also kinda live there now too with the Financial District’s WeLive phenomenon.  Spaces up to four bedrooms large can be rented out for a day or even a year!  For those looking for something smaller that is possible too as studios can also be rented for short- and long-term uses.

The advantage of this is that everything comes included – all the silverware, utensils and anything possible that you would ordinarily need to live.  You can make use of the bar, laundry room and swimming pool as well; it really has become a home away from home and for those traveling for work who need the space this is a great option.  It also works for those considering a more permanent move – of themselves or their entire businesses – to the New York area.  It is kind of like a trial to see how working would be in practice.

Another area we looked into was transportation.  Reports show it’s actually not bad at all.  According to Times contributor Jonathan Mahler, “In New York, movement—anywhere, anytime—is a right.”  Unlike some other large cities, there is just one flat fare when it comes to the city’s public transportation – the Metro.  So you “don’t’ get penalized for not being able to live centrally.”  Which is actually very positive considering how pricey that can be. And that also probably accounts for why NYC has become such a hub of culture.