Credit Suisse Exec Philip Vasan Moving to BlackRock

Aug 25, 16 Credit Suisse Exec Philip Vasan Moving to BlackRock

Posted by in All, Business

After 23 years at Credit Suisse Group AG, Philip Vasan, 57, will take over as head of investments and portfolio solutions for BlackRock’s US wealth advisory unit. The hire is part of BlackRock’s efforts to develop more individual clients in light of new US legislation which is designed to protect individual client interests in retirement planning. Mr. Vasan’s role will be to find tailor-made methods to combine actively managed mutual funds with index-tracking investments like iShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs.) This will ultimately allow BlackRock to offer more types of financial products that trade in stocks, bonds and other assets. “Clients want both active and index. Our strategy going forward is to offer advisers the range of solutions they need—and in the process create deeper and stronger relationships,” wrote Head of BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory, Salim Ramji, in an internal memo. The new US rules were set up by the Department of Labor to better manage how the financial industry provides retirement savings advice. Known as the “fiduciary rule,” it is likely that it will benefit the large passive-investing business BlackRock offers by encouraging clients to choose less expensive financial products like ETFs. Philip Vasan built and led Credit Suisse’s global prime-brokerage unit before he ran their US private-banking unit. According to the Wall Street Journal Mr. Vasan grew the unit which brought in about $2 billion in revenue. He also previously ran the global equity derivatives and convertibles unit at Credit Suisse and was the global head of foreign exchange there. Mr. Vasan earned a doctorate in economics at Harvard...

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Downtown Brooklyn Welcomes Ashland Into Its Heart

Jul 18, 16 Downtown Brooklyn Welcomes Ashland Into Its Heart

Posted by in All, Real Estate

The transformation of Brooklyn’s cultural center has taken a huge step forward with the opening of the Ashland residential tower. The tower is located at the meeting point of Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, where the cultural institutions are located with the Brooklyn Academy of Music as the anchor. New York has spent over $100 million in public spaces and arts organizations found there. New developments are sprouting up as affordable housing, retail, and office space grow. Ashland is 53 stories with 304 full-rate apartments sprinkled with 282 affordable units. They range in size studios to three-bedroom apartments with monthly rents for market-rate apartments starting at $2,600 and three bedrooms going for as much as $7,500. The affordable units are distributed by lottery. They will start at $801 for a studio, and a three-bedroom unit will cost $3,649 for a three-person household making between $126,995 and $155,400 a year. There were 82,262 applicants for the affordable apartments. “The location is incredible, as you have beautiful Fort Greene as your front yard, Downtown Brooklyn to the west, and you have all the cultural offerings literally right outside your door,” said David L. Picket, the president of the Gotham Organization, the developer of the...

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Airbnb Under Fire in New York

Jul 05, 16 Airbnb Under Fire in New York

Posted by in All, Business

A recent study conducted by “ShareBetter” entitled “Short Changing New York City,” investigated the effect Airbnb rentals have on the housing market in New York City. The report, which was commissioned by affordable housing advocates, longtime critics of Airbnb, found that 55 percent of the approximately 51,000 Airbnb listings in New York are in violation of a state law designed to promote affordable housing. The law states that it is forbidden to rent out an apartment in a building with three or more units for less than 30 days if the permanent resident of the apartment is not there. The report also states that more than one-third of New York’s Airbnb listings are considered commercial. That means that the properties main function is as a source of income through short-term rentals rather than as a dwelling place for the owner or host. Furthermore, according to the report, Airbnb is directly impeding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to create and/or preserve about 20,000 affordable housing units each year for the next ten years. The study found that in neighborhoods where Airbnb is the most popular rents have risen the fastest. Airbnb, according to the report, has hit Bedford-Stuyvesant, an historically African-American neighborhood, especially hard. The report states that Airbnb is speeding the process of gentrification in the neighborhoods where it is popular, contributing to the scarcity of affordable housing. The study pointed out that hosts in New York City generated about $1 billion in 2015. Airbnb receives a percentage of that revenue. Affordable housing advocates praised the report as further proof that Airbnb was making difficult problems in New York worse. Airbnb criticized the report, saying it is further evidence that entrenched hotel groups, astigmatic politicians and other special interest groups are squashing the positive effects the short-term rental service has on the city. They cited the facts that more customers are brought into minority neighborhood businesses, and that income is generated for people who need the...

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Anchin Experts Suggest Ways to Save Taxes

Apr 10, 16 Anchin Experts Suggest Ways to Save Taxes

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Many taxpayers collect a refund on the taxes they paid during the previous year, but according to some experts, their refunds could be even bigger if they only knew about a whole host of deductions they are eligible for. Anchin, Block & Anchin CPA Richard Baum explained that anyone who relocated due to a job switch is entitled to take the moving expenses as a deduction. All that is required is that the move be 50 miles or more away from their previous residence. Baum adds that even in the case of a first job these expenses, including gas and a moving van, are deductible. “Moving expenses for someone’s first job are deductible,” says Richard Baum, a CPA and tax partner at Anchin, Block, & Anchin, a New York based accounting firm. What other expenses are taxpayers entitled to deduct? Anchin experts say that half of the self-employment tax which self-employed people must pay is deductible. In addition, health insurance premiums are also deductible for the self-employed. All taxpayers are eligible to deduct the premiums they pay for long-term care insurance. Anchin, Block & Anchin also remind people that it pays to give. While most people realize that charitable contributions are deductible, they might not be aware that some charity-related expenses are also deductible. One good example is that the ingredients someone purchases to bake a cake for a bake sale to raise money for a cause are deductible, too. You can also deduct the mileage from the trip to a fund-raising event. Richard Baum of Anchin adds that anyone who has an investment portfolio and wants to give to a charity should rather give appreciated stock instead of writing a check. “Give that stock away in kind, get a tax deduction for the higher value, and never pay a capital gains tax,” Anchin’s Baum...

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Women and the Environment: A Brief History of Involvement

Mar 31, 16 Women and the Environment: A Brief History of Involvement

Posted by in Business, Health, Lifestyle

We all know how important environmentalism is in today’s world.  But did you know that it took a woman from England to inspire action to do something about New York’s pollution back in the mid-1950s? In 1956, Hazel Henderson, the well-known futurist, immigrated to New York. Soon after her arrival in the US, she began a letter-writing campaign to clean up New York’s air. Reminded of London’s smog crisis of 1952, in which 4,000 people died, Henderson wrote letters to New York Mayor Robert Wagner describing the thick smog she observed from her apartment window. Wagner, in denial, retorted that what she saw was merely normal ‘mist’ rolling in from the sea. Henderson was not deterred, however, and proceeded to write letters to the presidents of major American broadcasting networks and sent copies to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. These letters urged them to broadcast the index of air pollution each day along with the daily weather report. Her efforts were successful five weeks later when WABC-TV in New York City began to report on the air pollution index, with CBS and NBC soon following suit. Soon after, Henderson and two friends created Citizens for Clean Air, an organization to warn residents about the health hazards of air pollution. Membership grew quickly with about three-quarters of the 25,000 members being women. Since then women have been especially active in this important arena of public health and welfare. From such notable women as Sheryl Corrigan, former Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, to Gina McCarthy, the current administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, women have certainly made their mark in this important area of public...

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Jacques Torres Chocolates Growing in Brooklyn

Mar 17, 16 Jacques Torres Chocolates Growing in Brooklyn

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This past Valentine’s Day marked an important milestone for Jacques Torres Chocolates: they celebrated the opening of a brand new 40,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Valentine’s Day is the biggest single day of the year for purchasing chocolates. On that day alone the company sold close to 300 tons of tasty chocolate, 10 percent of that amount coming from Torres’ Sunset Park facility. “I’m infected by your love and passion for chocolate, for manufacturing,” said City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who is the representative of the neighborhood where Torres’ chocolates are produced. “This is something beyond the sum of its parts and you are bringing that to Sunset Park and we are lucky to have you.” Torres, who began his company 50 years ago in nearby DUMBO says he will stick to hiring local residents for his new facility. “Everybody that built this place from our contractor Dominic, to the electrician, to the plumber, everybody is from the neighborhood,” Torres said. The new chocolate manufacturing plant is only just the beginning of big changes to come to the Sunset Park area and the Brooklyn Army Terminal in particular. There has been over $100 million invested in the industrial complex by the Economic Development Corporation with the goal of injecting the area with about 2,000 new jobs. “What Sunset Park is becoming is really the epicenter of New York City’s manufacturing renaissance,” said EDC President Maria...

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