Having a rapacious business like private equity watching over particularly vulnerable people has never been a good idea. Still the evidence is mounting that Wall Street has pushed the envelope in recent years. Nursing homes, youth facilities, and homes for disabled adults have all fallen under the ownership of an industry with a track record of prioritizing wealth extraction over running companies well, to say nothing of caring for people in need.
Blog Post: Wall Street and private equity are “gobbling up homes,” driving inflation and exacerbating the housing crisis
In a House Financial Services Committee hearing from the beginning of March, both Representatives and witnesses discussed how Wall Street and private equity are causing housing prices to soar and driving inflation.
Today’s proposal from the Securities and Exchange Commission is a key step in bringing much-needed transparency for investors and accountability in the vast private funds market. The reforms it proposes would give pension funds that invest workers and retiree savings much more information, allowing them to better protect hard-earned dollars.
Sara Myklebust, research director at Bargaining for the Common Good Network, an initiative of labor and community groups, worked with [Patrick] Woodall, [research director at] Americans for Financial Reform, to try to survey units owned by large-scale corporate landlords in major cities across the country in 2019. Myklebust and Woodall were interested in whether they could document the consolidation of the market for single-family rentals, manufactured homes and apartments.
Wall Street’s private equity barons smashed previous records to complete $1.2 trillion worth of acquisitions in the United States in 2021, an all-time record. Globally, the industry gobbled up companies worth $2.1 trillion. The new acquisitions and the massive debts the industry generates is creating the risk of “the dotcom boom meeting with the financial crisis,” according to one insider.
The nomination of the highly qualified Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson to the Fed is a very welcome step forward towards a better-regulated Wall Street. The Fed needs to steer a new course that begins with a reversal of the deregulation of the Trump era. This work must continue with pro-active regulation and supervision of Wall Street.
President Biden’s renomination of Jerome Powell to chair the Federal Reserve Board is a major disappointment to those of us who have fought for tougher regulation of Wall Street as a key tool for protecting financial stability and building a more just and sustainable economy.
In The News: Who’s Afraid of Saule Omarova? How a Joe Biden nominee became the target of a ludicrous red-baiting campaign.
“The administration settled on a smart person with a background in the banking industry and in government as well as path-breaking scholarship on financial regulation,” said Carter Dougherty, a spokesperson for Americans for Financial Reform. “In less polarized times, somebody appointed by a Democratic president who worked for a previous Republican administration and for a Wall Street firm would be the kind of candidate everyone can agree on. But we’re at a moment where a candidate acceptable to Wall Street is a candidate that does the bidding of Wall Street. And that’s not acceptable to the public interest.”
AFR’s Senior Policy Analyst Renita Marcellin hosted a conversation with Professor Art Wilmarth, author of Taming the Megabanks: Why We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act. Professor Wilmarth discussed why structural protections, such as a modern Glass-Steagall Act and the separation between banking and commerce, are necessary in the banking system. They also examined how the erasure of these laws have led to many of the challenges we are currently facing in the financial system including ILCs/special purpose charters, the rise of Fintech firms, and stablecoins and highlighted the urgency of revisiting laws on structural separations in the banking system.
AFR joined a letter to Congress in support of the nomination of Professor Saule Omarova to serve as the next Comptroller of the Currency.