75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall St.: Emerging from One of the Worst Financial Crises in History, These Giants Are Transforming the Industry

By Hughes, Alan; Brown, Carolyn M. et al. | Black Enterprise, October 2011 | Go to article overview

75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall St.: Emerging from One of the Worst Financial Crises in History, These Giants Are Transforming the Industry


Hughes, Alan, Brown, Carolyn M., Mack, Sonja D., Black Enterprise


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SAYING THERE'S BEEN A BIT OF CHANGE IN THE WORLD of finance since BLACK ENTERPRISE last unveiled its list of 75 Host 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 subprime 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.

Another such entrepreneur, Christopher Williams, CEO of Williams Capital Group L.P. (No. 4 in taxable securities with $1.6 billion in lead issues on the BE INVESTMENT BANKS list), turned acquisitive. The firm acquired the institutional assets of Nutmeg Securities LLC., a Westport, Connecticut-based broker dealer, as well as part of Utendahl Capital Partners, a former BE 100s firm.

Now these players continue to find new, inventive ways to win and profit in a challenging environment marked by a European debt crisis, the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, a sluggish economy, and unpredictable markets. Due to the sweeping changes within this often volatile industry that remains a critical part of the U.S. economy, BLACK ENTERPRISE decided to take another look at the African Americans at the forefront, highlighting those who continue to make deals that will shape the course of the world.

SELECTION CRITERIA

The editors of BLACK ENTERPRISE spent the past several months developing this roster of "The 75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street." In conducting the research, our team pored over reams of industry data; consulted with leading trade organizations including the National Association of Securities Professionals, the National Association of Investment Cos., and the Executive Leadership Council; and interviewed scores of leading executives and entrepreneurs in the financial services sector. The men and women on our list met the following criteria:

* Those chosen are investment bankers, traders, asset managers, venture capitalists, private equity financiers, or top executives at financial services firms and have management responsibilities over these areas.

* They have achieved the status of chief executive, president, partner, chief investment officer, managing director, or other top-ranking positions at their firms, and have significant management duties.

* They demonstrate significant influence within their company and throughout the financial services industry. …

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