Mayor Bill de Blasio met behind closed doors with nearly two dozen Wall Street titans Tuesday and urged them to do more to help the city’s middle class.
The City Hall meeting, which was organized by Deputy Mayor (and Goldman Sachs alumna) Alicia Glen, was intended to help the mayor build a working relationship with the city’s corporate class. Mr. de Blasio, who has been mayor for 14 months, is still largely unknown to many in the private sector. Tuesday’s meeting, as well as the city’s recent bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016, are efforts to rectify that.
During the hourlong meeting, Mr. de Blasio was asked what the financial sector can do to burnish its reputation, which has taken a beating since the 2008 financial crisis. Just 21% of Americans have a favorable view of Wall Street, while one-third have a negative view, according to an August 2014 poll by NBC and The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the Street’s profits and employment levels are dropping.
Mr. de Blasio responded by urging the gathering to do more to lift up the city’s struggling residents, according to Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, who attended the meeting.
“The mayor talked about the importance of demonstrating their commitment to help those New Yorkers who have lost their middle-class status because of the recession and rising cost of living,” she said.
Gerald Hassell, chairman and CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon, and Peter Hancock, CEO of insurance giant AIG, spoke about their commitment to the city and the value of its intellectual capital, transportation infrastructure and other assets that have encouraged them to stay and expand here, Ms. Wylde added.
Mr. de Blasio also broached some of his favorite topics. He encouraged the bankers to back his expansion of the living-wage law, as well as his plan to overhaul the city’s workforce-training programs. Other topics at the roundtable included a “broad discussion of the city’s inequality crisis,” public education and youth employment initiatives, a spokeswoman said via email.
The mayor’s team included Ms. Glen, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and senior adviser Gabrielle Fialkoff.
Wall Street attendees included:
- Jeffrey Barker, New York City president, Bank of America Corp.
- Sheila Davidson, executive vice president, chief legal officer and general counsel, New York Life Insurance Co.
- D.Scott Dolfi, chief operating officer, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
- Matthew Furman, senior vice president, group general counsel corporate & governance and corporate secretary, The Travelers Cos.
- Daniel Glaser, president and CEO, Marsh & McLennan Cos.
- Jonathan Gray, senior managing director, The Blackstone Group
- Peter Hancock, president and CEO, American International Group Inc.
- Gerald Hassell, Chairman and CEO, BNY Mellon
- Charles Kaye, co-chief executive officer, Warburg Pincus
- Howard Lutnick, chairman and CEO, Cantor Fitzgerald
- Raymond J. McGuire, co-head of global investment banking and managing director, Citigroup Inc.
- Chris McWilton, president, North American markets, MasterCard
- Barbara Novick, vice chairman, BlackRock Inc.
- John Paulson, president, Paulson & Co.
- Ruth Porat, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Morgan Stanley
- John Rogers, Executive Vice President, Goldman Sachs & Co.
- Gordon Smith, CEO, consumer/community bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Robert Soros, deputy chairman and president, Soros Fund Management
- George Walker, chairman and CEO, Neuberger Berman Group
- Christopher Williams, chairman and CEO, The Williams Capital Group
- Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City
- Michael Zarcone, executive vice president and head of corporate affairs, MetLife Inc.