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New York City prepares for
revival of financial markets
20 February 2009: New York City wants to be in pole position when global financial markets start to revive. Proposing eleven initiatives to retain and promote financial companies and institutions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the financial services meltdown was a global problem, not one that any city or even nation can solve on its own. "And although we can’t predict exactly what its revival will look like, we’re confident the sector will come back. When it does, cities around the world will compete to capture the jobs it brings.”
The mayor continued: “In New York City, we’re not waiting for that day to come. Instead, we are taking aggressive steps to put the City in the best position to capture growth, and we’re doing it by promoting one thing more than any other: innovation. New York City’s greatest strength has always been and will continue to be the innovation, drive and work ethic of New Yorkers. Time and time again, history has shown that our City rewards those who have the courage to pursue their dreams and launch new ideas."
Bloomberg explained that the proposed initiatives were aimed at retaining and expanding the cluster of businesses and institutions that has made New York City the global financial services capital, while simultaneously fostering those new ideas that will keep the city competitive for decades to come.
New York City has identified three basic challenges brought on by the financial services crisis. First, the shrinking of sector jobs and loss of institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns has reduced the critical mass of financial services entities in New York City.
Second, the sector of the financial services industry in which New York City has particularly excelled in recent years capital markets has been hit hardest by the downturn, with recovery likely to take several years. Of the five broad sub-sectors of financial services capital markets, investment management, insurance, retail banking, and wholesale banking the greatest job loss is expected to come in capital markets, the city’s biggest sub-sector. In 2007, capital markets made up nine per cent of the nation’s 6 million financial services jobs but 39 per cent of New York City’s 339,000 financial services jobs. Meanwhile, the city expects that capital markets will account for 57 per cent of the total financial services job losses in New York City.
Third, the City is facing massive layoffs in the financial services industry, which, if not properly addressed, could result in the loss of a talented portion of the City’s workforce. The industry has been central to the health of the US economy, but for New York City, is especially critical, contributing 348,000 jobs, or 9 percent of the City’s private sector jobs in 2007. These jobs account for more than one-third of the city’s private sector payroll, and workers of a range of incomes. More than half of the people working in the City’s financial services sector make less than $100,000 per year.
Among the initiatives are:
Creation of incubators for start-up businesses: To help entrepreneurs launch new start-up companies, NYC is partnering with academic institutions, property management companies and commercial landlords to establish high-quality, ready-to-use office space that comes with basic business services and administrative support.
Establishment of a New York City angel fund: Angel investors typically provide funding to small start-up companies before they are in a position to garner venture capital dollars a crucial stage in the entrepreneurial process. NYC will invest $3 million to create several funds totaling between $9 million and $10 million to make angel investments of $20,000 to $250,000 to New York City-based start-up companies.
Launch of an annual international financial services business plan competition: To attract groundbreaking financial services start-up companies and enhance New York City’s reputation as a center for financial innovation, the City will market and conduct an annual business plan competition with top business and engineering schools throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
An online information portal: To establish a central information clearing house and support network for entrepreneurs and startup companies and to help publicize the activity already occurring in New York, NYC will create and manage a website that will include a calendar of seminars and networking events, real estate information, a discussion forum and other resources to help entrepreneurs.
A fast track program to help New Yorkers start entrepreneurial businesses: Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of FastTrac, a business training program to help emerging entrepreneurs, including those displaced from the financial services sector, start new businesses and help existing entrepreneurial business owners run their businesses. The mayor a jump start program, which he described as a free job training and placement pilot program designed for workers laid off from the financial services sector looking for opportunities within New York City’s network of venture capital portfolio businesses.
Inward investment campaign: As firms in emerging markets continue to grow and expand, many will look for appropriate locations in which to establish North American offices. To maximize the number that choose New York City as their regional base, the city will conduct an international recruitment campaign focused on attracting commercial banks and insurance companies headquartered in China, India and other developing economies.
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No early upswing in sight for US real estate market
Real estate industry experts expect financial and real estate markets in the United States to bottom in 2009 and then flounder for much of 2010, with ongoing drops in property values, more foreclosures and delinquencies, and a limping economy that will continue to crimp property cash flows, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The report’s authors believe a lengthy US recession will also impact on Canada and urge caution in Latin America.
“Commercial real estate faces its worst year since the wrenching 1991-1992 industry depression,” conclude industry experts interviewed for the report, which projects losses of 15 per cent to 20 per cent in real estate values from the mid-2007 peak. “Only when property financing gets restructured will pricing recorrect so we can find the floor; and this transition could wipe out companies and people,” says one respondent interviewed for the report. More