From the October 2008 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

October 1, 2008

Is Cuomo Hurting Wall Street?

Is Cuomo Hurting Wall Street?

While New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and the wirehouse broker-dealers say they are "pleased" with their recent ARS settlements, at least one industry veteran is appalled: financial-services equity analyst Richard Bove, who prefaces his analysis by saying that "the SEC has been lax in applying securities laws."

Bove criticizes the ARS deals on several counts. First, citing Citigroup, he does not believe the agreement will improve the brand and reputation of the investment firm. Second, the deals jeopardize New York's already tenuous position in the global marketplace. And, third, the agreements threaten innovation within the industry, which puts even further strains on New York's status as a financial hub.

"While New York attorney generals are blithely pummeling the state's financial industry, it should be noted that this industry is facing its severest competitive threat in 75 years," he says.

"New York is fighting for its financial life in a new financial world," he explains. "Giant New York financial firms are going begging to sovereign funds around the world looking for new capital as the American regulators punish the firms mercilessly."

"If it is the intention of New York State to penalize the financial industry every time there is a product failure, the result will be clear," says Bove. "The innovators will leave New York and go elsewhere to financial markets that are growing faster and are more congenial to innovators. New York will be successful, more than it imagined, in penalizing the firms within the state. It will drive them out."

He concludes, "More thought needs to be given by the company [Citigroup] and its regulators as to what is in the best interest of the state, the business and the clients."

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Janet Levaux, MBA/MA, is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com

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