Meet NYC Mayoral candidate Ray McGuire, a former Wall Street exec who wants to accelerate small businesses to the top

Ray McGuire
New York City mayoral candidate Ray McGuire.

  • Ray McGuire is a former Wall Street executive who is running for New York City mayor.
  • McGuire wants to enact a job accelerator program that would bring back 50,000 positions at small businesses.
  • As a political outsider, he says that he would bring a fresh perspective to City Hall.
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New York City may be a preeminent global financial capital, but the city runs on its small businesses.

Last August, a report by the Partnership for New York City indicated that about a third of the city’s 240,000 small businesses might remain closed when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

With a citywide 28-day COVID-19 positivity rate average hovering at 1.1 percent, much of the city has reopened, but there is still work to be done.

For Ray McGuire, a longtime Wall Street executive and one of the eight major Democratic candidates running in the city’s mayoral primary that will be held on June 22, steering the city’s economic recovery after the pandemic would be one of his paramount objectives as mayor.

“I want to have the greatest, most inclusive comeback in the history of New York City,” he said.

McGuire, 64, knows a thing or two about financial advancement, having grown up as the son of a single mother in Dayton, Ohio, and going on to become a top investment business leader.

After graduating from Harvard University, where he earned three degrees – a B.A. in English, as well as business and law degrees – McGuire carved out a career in investment banking, notably at Merrill Lynch. He’d go on to serve as the global co-head of mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley.

McGuire became one of the highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street when he entered a role as the head of global corporate and investment banking at Citigroup, originating and executing deals valued at over $650 billion.

Now he wants to apply his managerial experience to a city that he says has been hampered by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

McGuire recently spoke with Insider about his campaign, which has focused on economic issues, affordable housing, and improving access to education throughout the city. Below are edited excerpts from that interview.

Q. You’ve touted your Comeback job accelerator program as a way to bring back economic life to the city in a big way. How would the plan work?

A. My plan is to put 50,000 jobs in small businesses to take care of half of their wages for one year, to help them retain their New York city sales tax receipts for one year, to waive all fees due for one year, to appoint a deputy mayor for small businesses, and to have that deputy mayor have “red tape” commission to cut through all the bureaucracy. There’d be a shot clock, which would put some discipline into when the city responds to applications from small businesses. I want to make this city the best place for small businesses to come.

Ray McGuire
New York City Mayoral candidate Ray McGuire speaks during a press conference at the National Action Network’s House of Justice to denounce the rise of attacks against Asian Americans on March 18, 2021.

New York City has so many pressing infrastructural needs that have developed over generations, largely due to a lack of funding. What investments would you make?

In what I call the ‘Go big, Go small, Go forward’ plan … ‘Go big’ is focused on infrastructure, including affordable housing and broadband for the 1.5 million New Yorkers who don’t have it. We’ll also invest in climate resilience for the hundred-year floods that come every five years, in places like the Rockaways [Queens] and Hunts Point [Bronx] and and Red Hook and Coney Island [Brooklyn], along with Lower Manhattan.

Several of your competitors have deep experience in government and they’re now asking voters for a huge promotion. Your business background carves out a different lane in the race. How does your experience differentiate what you would do as mayor from the other candidates?

Most of them have never run organizations that are large and complex. This is not the first time that someone could be in a leadership role, but has never led before. This is serious business. I have had a track record of leading large, complex businesses. That track record extends globally. I’ve had to be a doer, not a talker. The vast majority of them have been talkers and have never managed budgets larger than $10 million or $50 million or $100 million. [In April, Mayor de Blasio released a proposed 2022 budget of $98.6 billion.] We are at a very dangerous intersection in this city. For somebody who’s simply looking for a promotion, was termed out, or served in this failed administration, this is not the time for their first job, nor is it the time for a consolation prize.

You’re running on a change platform. What do you feel is the biggest shortcoming of Mayor de Blasio’s administration?

The biggest shortcoming is a lack of management experience, lack of judgment, and an inability to attract and retain the best talent. It’s almost like a revolving door. Look at how long people have been in their positions.

You’ve basically been campaigning throughout the pandemic. As someone who’s spoken to voters from all walks of life across the five boroughs, what is something that has really stuck out to you over the past few months?

They’re highly, highly, highly skeptical of career politicians. They show up for the photo ops, but things haven’t changed and have actually gotten worse. People want something different. The status quo hasn’t served them.

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Wall Street brokers are reportedly limiting short bets against meme stocks by hedge funds

AMC Entertainment
  • Major Wall Street brokers are tightening rules over who can bet against meme stocks that are popular with retail traders, according to Bloomberg.
  • Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Jefferies Financial are among the firms that have adjusted risk controls.
  • Jefferies Prime Brokerage will no longer offer custody on naked options in AMC Entertainment, GameStop, and MicroVision, the report said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some of Wall Street’s largest brokers are quietly tightening rules on who can bet against meme stocks popular among retail traders in an effort to protect themselves against the fallout from sharp price surges and falls, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Firms that have adjusted risk controls at their prime-brokerage operations include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Jefferies Financial Group, the Friday report said, citing people familiar with discussions about internal policy decisions.

With the adjustments, some hedge funds and other institutional investors now face higher collateral requirements or are limited from shorting certain stocks.

Jefferies Prime Brokerage will no longer offer custody on naked options in AMC Entertainment, GameStop, and MicroVision, the firm told clients in a memo seen by Bloomberg News. Naked options allow investors to short a stock without owning the underlying securities. Jefferies will not permit short sales of those securities and other stocks may be added to its list.

The changes come during a new wave of rallies among so-called meme stocks including AMC GameStop as retail investors on social media sites such as Reddit’s Wall Streets Bets forum band together to force short squeezes on hedge funds that betting shares of the companies will fall. AMC has been the key focus of the latest rally, similar to GameStop’s role during a trending frenzy in January.

It’s not unusual for banks to make risk-control adjustments as market conditions change, the report noted.

A number of brokerages have been looking over their risk controls after some large prime brokers in March were forced to liquidate at a discount the multibillion-dollar portfolio of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management. The family office collapsed after making wrong-way bets on media and technology companies. Bank of America and Citigroup were not hurt by the Archegos matter, Bloomberg said.

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Citi plans to launch crypto trading services after a boom in client interest in digital currencies, report says

Citi trader

Citi could be the next major bank to enter the digital currency market after surging client interest, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

With Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan warming up to cryptocurrencies, other large investment banks are having to look at making them more accessible to the public.

Itay Tuchman, Citi’s global head of foreign exchange, told the FT services including trading, custody, and financing are under consideration right now.

“There are different options from our perspective, and we are considering where we can best service clients,” he told the newspaper. “This is not going to be a prop-trading effort,” he said, referring to proprietary trading, which uses money from the bank’s own capital.

Citi published a research report on bitcoin in March that said the digital asset could become the currency of global trade. At the same time, the bank suggested it could go either way and suffer a “speculative implosion.”

Goldman Sachs on Thursday opened up a new way for Wall Street investors to place big bets in the popular cryptocurrency through non-deliverable forwards, a derivative tied to bitcoin’s price that is paid out in cash.

Tuchman said Citi has seen massive interest in bitcoin across a gamut of investors, including large asset managers. Some had requested for more research, while others wanted trading services and ways to finalize deals with cryptocurrencies.

But he said the bank is being cautious and shouldn’t do anything that’s not safe, or sound. It is reportedly in no rush to conclude how deeply involved it should be in crypto. “We will jump in when we are confident that we can build something that benefits clients and that regulators can support,” he said.

“I don’t have any FOMO [fear of missing out], because I believe that crypto is here to stay and that we are just at the very beginning of the market,” he added. “This isn’t a space race. There is room for more than just one flag.”

Citi declined to comment further on the FT’s report.

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Bitcoin tops $60,000 and sets new high over the weekend as Elon Musk aims towards the “moon”

Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

  • Bitcoin approached all-time highs over the weekend, topping $60,000 for the first time in weeks.
  • Elon Musk tweeted cryptically in an apparent reference to the rally, fueling speculation about his plans.
  • The latest rally comes as the cryptocurrency continues to make gains at major, mainstream institutions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bitcoin surged above $60,000 for the first time since March, approaching record highs on Saturday. As of 9:00am eastern time on Sunday, the currency was at $59.604.06 on the Bitstamp exchange.

The cryptocurrency is up over 700% from a year ago when a single bitcoin was below $7000. This year, bitcoin is up over 100% after a February rally brought the cryptocurrency over $50,000 for the first time.

Early Saturday morning, as the cryptocurrency was floating around its weekend high, Tesla and SpaceX CEO (and Technoking) Elon Musk tweeted “…going to moon very soon,” in an apparent reference to popular Bitcoin slang “to the moon.”

Musk, a bitcoin booster whose company Tesla purchased $1.5 billion of bitcoin, netting the company more profit than its electric car business, also helms up SpaceX. The company is planning the first civilian space flight to the moon in 2023.

Earlier this month, the proliferate billionaire tweeter tweeted that the company would “put a literal Dogecoin on the literal moon.” His latest tweet prompted some speculation that SpaceX may join Tesla in adding cryptocurrency to its balance sheet.

Bitcoin has been stuck in the upper $50,000 range after briefly hitting an all-time high of almost $62,000 in mid-March.

Reuters spoke to Justin d’Anethan, a sales manager at digital asset company Diginex in Hong Kong, attributed the rally to a recent influx in investor attention, as supply tightens.

Bitcoin’s liquid supply has been shrinking this year to record lows, according to blockchain analysis firm Glassnode. Supply has been tight as some of Wall Street’s biggest firms have begun to invest in cryptocurrencies, while major payment firms Stripe and Paypal have begun to accept Bitcoin as payment.

Goldman Sachs has relaunched its cryptocurrency trading desk while the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has begun to dabble in bitcoin futures as well. A recent report from Citi speculated that bitcoin could set off a “massive transformation” in global finance, becoming the standard medium of trade, though it also highlighted the possibility of an “implosion.”

The rally kicks off another major week for the crypto world. Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, is going public later this week and could trade at valuations higher than those of the Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange.

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JPMorgan and Citi are using blockchain technology, and other banks are considering allowing clients to hold crypto in bank accounts, Bank of America research finds

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo
  • Bank of America research published Tuesday shows banks like JPMorgan and Citi use blockchain technology. 
  • Other smaller banks said they are open to allowing clients to hold cryptocurrencies in the future. 
  • The research sheds on light on where traditional financial institutions stand on blockchain amid bitcoin’s massive rally.
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A research report from Bank of America shows banking behemoths JPMorgan and Citi are using blockchain technology, while other banks are considering allowing commercial and institutional clients to hold cryptocurrencies in their accounts. 

BofA analysts led by Erika Najarian compiled responses from banks they cover regarding use of blockchain technology and willingness to facilitate crypto transactions. 

They found that 21% of banks they cover have incorporated blockchain technology into their businesses in some form. Blockchain is a digital ledger and the technology used to transact with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

JPMorgan, Citi, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, PNC, Fifth Third Bank, and Signature Bank are among some of the banks that said they use blockchain.

While JPMorgan and Citi did not specify in what capacity they use blockchain technology, Wells Fargo highlighted its WFC Digital Cash platform, which allows investors to transfer accounts between Wells subsidiaries. Meanwhile Fifth Third said blockchain technology is in use “in very limited cases for sensitive information.” PNC was the first US bank to join the Ripple network. 

Meanwhile, no banks under BofA coverage are facilitating crypto transactions or allowing customers to hold crypto in accounts at this time. However, Citizens Financial Group said they are open to allowing clients to hold crypto in theory at some point, but would need to develop a robust anti-money laundering infrastructure. US Bancorp told BofA they’re “currently looking at applications of blockchain technology and crypto opportunities at the commercial bank.”  

Several banks said they are waiting for regulatory clarification on providing cryptocurrency custody services before adopting the digital currency. 

According to BofA analysts who conducted the study, the consensus among banks was that any future application of cryptocurrency would be concentrated in commercial, custody, and commercial payments rather than retail clients. 

Also, Citi is “more focused on tokenization” than facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, according to BofA, while JPMorgan is “actively assessing if they will take cryptocurrency in accounts.” 

The research sheds a light on where major financial institutions stand with regards to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency amid bitcoin’s epic rally. 

“While the future of cryptocurrencies is still oft-debated by the market, many investors view blockchain broadly as general ledger technology that is key for banks to unlock efficiencies in the future. As such, we see this wide gap in blockchain technology (and willingness to adopt it) as potentially telling of a bank’s tech investment strategy,” the analysts said. 

 

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Citigroup slashed its Chief Executive Michael Corbat’s compensation by over 20% in 2020

Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup
Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup

The board at Citigroup Inc. said it cut Chief Executive Michael Corbat’s pay by 20.7% to $19.035 million based on its assessment of his performance in respect to “risk and control concerns,” according to a regulatory filing. 

A consent order issued by regulators in October required Citigroup to fix its risk-management systems. The Federal Reserve Board and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced $400 million in fines levied against Citigroup due to “deficiencies in enterprise-wide risk management, compliance risk management, data governance, and internal controls.

Corbat will be retiring at the end of the month and he will be succeeded Jane Fraser, the bank’s president and CEO of its consumer banking division, making her the first woman to serve as the chief executive of a major US bank.

His 2020 annual compensation included his base salary of $1.5 million and a total incentive award of $17.535 million, according to the company.

His compensation is determined by the impact of the pandemic as wall as other factors, including financial and leadership performance. 

Citigroup’s net income fell to $11.4 billion in 2020, compared to net income of $19.4 billion in 2019, according to the company’s statement.

Bank of America is also cutting its CEO Brian Moynihan’s pay by 7.5% to $24.5 million due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal. Moynihan’s 2020 compensation included a base salary of $1.5 million and $23 million of restricted stock, the newspaper said. 

Bank of America didn’t respond to Insider’s requests for immediate comments. 

Bank of America’s net income fell 28% to $5.5 billion or $0.59 per share in its fourth quarter of 2020, beating analyst expectations. But its revenue dropped 10% as it was impacted by low interest rates that affected its consumer banking business.

Last month, Wells Fargo slashed its CEO Charles Scharf’s pay by around 12% in 2020 to $20.3 million, according to a regulatory filing disclosure.

Scharf’s annual pay dropped from $23 million in 2019, according to the bank. His earnings in 2020 consisted of a $2.5 million base salary, a cash incentive compensation of $4.4 million, and long-term incentive compensation of $13.5 million, according to the filing.

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Nvidia pares Thursday gains after spiking on Citi analyst’s strong outlook

Semiconductor manufacturing.
Nvidia semiconductor manufacturing.

  • Nvidia stock trimmed gains Friday after a strong showing on the back of Citigroup’s positive note on Thursday.
  • Analyst Atif Malik’s EPS estimates are 2%-5% ahead of street estimates, which implies Nvidia could post a $2.94 EPS figure when the company reports earnings on February 11.
  • Nvidia now boasts 30 Buy ratings, 5 hold ratings, and just 4 Sell ratings from analysts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Shares of Nvidia trimmed gains Friday after surging some 4.3% Thursday on a strong outlook from Citigroup. The stock was down around 1% early Friday afternoon. 

Citigroup analyst Atif Malik said in a note that Nvidia’s stock has lagged its chip manufacturing peers and could offer upside potential ahead of next week’s virtual CES conference.

Nvidia was added to Citi’s “Catalyst Watch List” and the bank maintained its $600 price target.

Malik noted Nvidia has fallen over 15% from its early November high of over $580 per share, while the iShares semiconductor index SOXX has gained over 24% during the same period.

Read more: Wall Street experts are calling Georgia’s runoff results ‘the first surprise of 2021.’ Here’s how 4 of them recommend positioning your portfolio for what could happen next.

Citi expects hyperscale-led data center demand recovery in the first half of 2021 and sustained PC gaming demand to drive an EPS boost.

Their analysts’ EPS estimates for Nvidia remain 2%-5% above street projections.

That’s worth noting, as Street analysts already expect Nvidia to grow its earnings by 48% in the January quarter to $2.80 per share. That’s on top of 55% year-over-year sales growth which will see Nvidia closing on the $5 billion revenue mark for the quarter.

Read more: Investing legend Terry Smith’s $30 billion equity fund returned 449% to investors over a decade – Here’s his 4-part strategy for success and 10 pieces of investing wisdom to take into 2021

This news comes just weeks after Wells Fargo boosted their price target for the chip manufacturer to $625 per share from $600 per share.

As of Friday, Nvidia boasted 30 Buy ratings, 5 Hold ratings, and just 4 Sell ratings from analysts, per MarketBeat.

Shares of Nvidia are down over 1% Friday afternoon, trading at $529.07 per share as of 12:55pm E.T.

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