UPDATE: Gov. DeSantis traveled to New York aboard an aircraft belonging to NetJets – a company that lets members buy leases or individual shares in executive jets, communications chief Helen Aguirre Ferré said Wednesday.
We now know who Gov. Ron DeSantis conferred with while on a trip to New York City Monday – representatives from a half-dozen finance and technology companies.
It’s unclear whether DeSantis and his staff traveled on a state or commercial plane or on a private jet. The Phoenix requested that information but the governor’s office provided no details. On a previous New York City trip, DeSantis rode on a private plane with South Florida billionaire Jeffrey Sofer.
“I want the financial, technology and banking sectors to see the Sunshine State as a place where their business can thrive without being impeded by high taxes, burdensome regulation or political demagoguery,” DeSantis said in written remarks.
The governor’s office didn’t release the names of the individuals the governor met with. But they did release a list of firms. Here’s a look at them:
Jeffries Financial Group Inc. focuses on investment banking, asset management, and direct investing. There’s already a Florida angle here – the bank reportedly is helping the DC Capital Partners private equity firm unload its stake in Caliburn International, a subsidiary of which operates the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in South Florida. According to the Miami Herald, three members of Congress from Florida are calling for an investigation into a no-bid, $341 million contract recently awarded to the shelter’s operators.
Apollo Global Management LLC, a private equity group, had $303 billion under management as of the fourth quarter of 2008. It recently announced plans to incorporate to take advantage of potential savings under the GOP’s big tax cut. The fund is angling to purchase 25 television stations owned by Northwest Broadcasting and Cox Broadcasting. The watchdog nonprofit group Common Cause has filed a formal objection, warning that hedge funds in the past have imposed “cost cutting strategies that bleed newspapers dry, leading to reporter layoffs and consolidated newsrooms,” as reported by industry website Broadcast & Cable.
Axoni, founded in 2013, is a financial technology company that uses blockchain systems to help big financial institutions including Goldman Sachs handle complex financial “derivative” contracts, foreign exchanges, and other transactions. Additional clients include Citibank, Wells Fargo, and J.P. Morgan.
Betterment LLC was the first of the financial “robo-advisers” – platforms that use automated trading to manage investors’ accounts at lower fees. Last year, the company agreed to pay the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority $400,000 for alleged window dressing – acting to artificially inflate its value – plus violating record-keeping and other FINRA and Securities Exchange Commission regulations between 2012 and 2015. The company neither acknowledged nor denied the allegations, according to a Forbes report.
Enigma Technologies Inc., founded in 2011, integrates publicly available data with its financial industry customers’ internal and third-party data to manage financial regulation compliance, insurance underwriting, asset management, and supply chains.
Stash Financial Inc., which offers “passive” investment services through a phone app. The service allows users to name their goals, including preferences for environmentally responsible and other targeted investing, and then purchases stocks on their behalf for as little as $5 for the first investment. Its latest product is a “stock-back” debit card that steers user rewards into investments.