Tags: Wall Street | New York | job | claw back

Wall Street Loses Luster as the Engine of Economic Growth

By    |   Friday, 20 Feb 2015 08:00 AM

New York City has created more jobs during the last five years than any other five-year period in the past 50 years. However, Wall Street was virtually left in the dust.

Breaking from the past, Wall Street has contributed less than 1 percent to this recent surge in job growth, according to the New York City Independent Budget Office and the New York State Department of Labor. In the 1990s, the securities industry, including investment banks and brokerages, provided more than 10 percent of the newly added jobs in New York City's private sector. And from 2003 to 2008, Wall Street received approximately 40 percent of the aggregate wage growth. Since 2009, it recorded only one quarter of that, or about 10 percent.

Wall Street is no longer the engine of economic growth in America.

Since 2009, 425,000 jobs have been created in New York City, an increase of more than 10 percent to 4.1 million, with only several thousand originating in the financial sector. Nearly 42 percent of these positions pay between $50,000 and $100,000 annually and are composed of a broad swath of industries, including hospitality, retail and technology. The New York City Budget Office expects an additional 250,000 jobs to be added by 2018.

In New York City, job growth following the 2008 recession has exceeded that for the previous two: it has increased approximately 10 percent in the first 4 ½ years since 2009, compared with an 8 percent rise following the 2003 slide and a 5 percent bump after the 1992 trough.

Economists and city officials welcome this news, since it suggests a more balanced and heterogeneous mix of employment growth — one that is more independent of the financial industry, a sector that has been highly subsidized by taxpayers in recent years.

Some experts suggest the annual taxpayer subsidies to the five largest U.S. banks in 2012 roughly equaled their annual profits of $64 billion: a model where taxpayers provide the bank profits. This methodology of privatizing profits and socializing losses typically benefits the upper echelons of finance at the expense of employment for lower and middle classes.

The Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010 required rules to be implemented that forced forfeitures of financial compensation in cases of egregious wrongdoing by financial firms and their employees. Nearly five years later these rules have yet to be finalized and adopted.

These forfeitures, or claw backs, are reasonable, since it can take up to 10 years to identify financial malfeasance and file suit to prosecute the perpetrators of these highly elaborate and camouflaged financial schemes — as in the current case involving tax evasion and possible money laundering at HSBC as far back as 2005.

This mechanism will certainly serve as a strong deterrent to this type of activity in the future.

England is moving ahead in this direction. Recently, the Labor party introduced a legislative proposal, which was endorsed by the Bank of England Governor Marc Carney, to implement claw back provisions on fixed pay and bonuses for wrongdoing going back 10 years.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer suggests that claw back provisions are in place at banks, but lack of transparency and disclosure prevents the public from knowing when and how they are applied and enforced.

Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell also believes it is critical that forfeiture of paid and deferred compensation are included in the regulatory framework to deter undue risk-taking and provide a mechanism to capture unwarranted financial remuneration to compensate injured counterparties.

This construct is similar to the claw back provisions exercised in the Bernie Madoff case, where $10.5 billion of the $17.5 billion of invested principle was recovered. Madoff's clients lost $65 billion.

Wall Street is being crowded out by a growing New York City economy. Perhaps this will pave the way for the implementation of more responsible financial regulations. This would bode well for our economic and financial well-being.

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New York City has created more jobs during the last five years than any other five-year period in the past 50 years. However, Wall Street was virtually left in the dust.
Wall Street, New York, job, claw back
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2015-00-20
Friday, 20 Feb 2015 08:00 AM
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