Saying there’s been a bit of change in the world of finance since Black Enterprise last unveiled its list of 75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street in 2006 is about as huge an understatement as saying the financial markets have had a few bumps over the past half decade. Since then, a sub-prime mortgage crisis nearly wrecked the world economy, leading to U.S. government bailouts for financial institutions, insurance companies, and the auto industry. Many global financial institutions were devastated. Former stalwarts were acquired for pennies on the dollar, widespread layoffs ensued, and the market indices have yet to return to their highs of 2007.
However, there has been some upside for African Americans on Wall Street these past five years. Those who remained with the global giants of the industry have demonstrated their expertise by leading them back to profitability. For some of the boutique firms that comprise the BE 100s financial services companies, their lack of exposure to toxic mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the financial crisis enabled them to bolster their operations by hiring talent from Wall Street giants and entering lines of business cast off by their larger counterparts.
Case in point: James Reynolds, CEO of Loop Capital Markets L.L.C. (No. 1 in taxable securities with $29.03 billion in lead issues and No. 2 in tax-exempt securities with $2.83 billion in lead issues on the BE Investment Banks list) hired nearly 25 people who had been downsized from bond departments at several large financial institutions, such as Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, that exited those lines of business. This same staff helped Loop Capital service a broader pool of bond buyers; their expertise was critical to the firm’s landing a significant piece of business—a structured underwriting of nearly $1 billion in general obligation refunding bonds for New York City.
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