Malloy continues jobs tour as financial industry execs wait their turn
Published 11:31 am, Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Tuesday continues his speaking tour of the state to focus attention on job growth, stopping in Mystic for some tourism-related visits. The governor also has been asked to huddle with hedge fund and financial industry executives who want to make their views known about what's best for Connecticut's economy.
Malloy's job tour comes amid an intense effort by state union leaders to devise a path to concessions that last month failed to win enough rank-and-file support for ratification. In the absence of those concessions, Malloy has ordered some 6,500 state employee layoffs.
The governor's stops in Mystic -- to the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport -- are designed to highlight what he believes is a critical part of the state's economic future, its tourism industry.
Yet to be scheduled is a meeting with executives in the hedge fund and financial service industries, sectors that some believe are also essential to Connecticut's economic future.
Malloy's administration, through the Department of Economic and Community Development, recently enlisted the help of state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-36th District, to identify business executives to participate in the yet-to-be scheduled summit.
"I think there's definitely some concern that they're not as appreciated as they should be," said Frantz, a venture capitalist who represents Greenwich and parts of Stamford and New Canaan.
Frantz said the meeting would have a financial services flavor to it, but won't be limited to hedge funds, banks, venture capital and private equity firms. It could be held within the next month, he said.
"I think every business person in the state of Connecticut is concerned about the macroeconomic climate and they're concerned about some of the tax policies that relate to the cost of doing business," Frantz said. "I think it's a very good idea for the governor and other folks to do this. What it'll do is help improve their understanding how to foster a job-creation environment."
Hedge funds, which invest in stocks, commodity futures, options and emerging market debt, are sophisticated investment pools that cater to high net-worth individuals.
The industry has faced its share of scrutiny from politicians, who have called for tighter financial regulations and changing the tax treatment on hedge fund managers' profits, known as carried interest.
Malloy's tour is set against the backdrop of a bleak economic forecast for Connecticut, which the New York-based consultant IHS Global Insight recently predicted would finish last in job growth during the next five years.
It also coincides mounting rumors that Swiss banking giant UBS will abandon its Stamford headquarters for Manhattan.
"We really want to hear from folks, owners, managers, workers what their experience has been working in Connecticut," said Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Malloy.
She emphasized that Malloy is reaching out to a swath of industries and businesses, not just those in the realm of financial services and hedge funds.
Malloy's jobs tour started last week in Stamford with members of the Business Council of Fairfield County and included a visit to Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich, an animation company lured to the state by tax incentives. He followed that up with stops in Storrs, Hartford and Farmington and with a Thursday speech at the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce's annual Leaders Luncheon.
His statewide jobs circuit is scheduled to continue through Labor Day.
Among the corporations that Frantz said he plans to recommend to join the dialogue with Malloy are UBS and its next-door neighbor and Scottish rival RBS.
"I think the governor wants to generally hear from his constituents in the business world so he will have a better idea of how to create jobs going forward," Frantz said.
Staff writer Neil Vigdor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-625-4436.