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Financial advisory firm tells clients Biden won’t be moving too far left if he becomes president

  • July 10, 2020

Financial advisory firm Signum Global Advisors told clients Thursday that it isn’t convinced Joe Biden is going to be as progressive as some may hope if he beats President Donald Trump in November. 

The firm told its corporate clients in a note that it believes the policy recommendations put together by task forces filled with allies of Biden’s and the more progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders show that the presumptive Democratic nominee doesn’t plan to side too often with those on the left side of the political spectrum if he becomes president. 

“The report is very aspirational; it pays lip service to some of the party’s more progressive ideas, though has few specifics about how ideas will be achieved, and generally repeats most of the moderate ideas from the Biden campaign’s website,” the note said. 

Signum has previously told clients that it expects Biden to defeat Trump and for Democrats to flip the Senate

The note — co-authored by Charles Myers, the founder of Signum and previously the vice chairman of Evercore, and the group’s senior partner, Lew Lukens — said the reason the firm believes Biden won’t be following a progressive policy platform is due to what’s missing in the proposed outline, along with a lack of specifics for ideas that could impact the economy. Myers is an active fundraiser for Biden’s campaign for president, and his company has offices in New York, Washington and London.  

The positive take on Biden by the Wall Street firm comes as finance executives brace for a change to their business models under a potential new administration. Myers told CNBC that his clients, even after he sent out the note, expressed concern about the possibility of seeing their taxes go up. Biden, in a speech just outside his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Thursday warned business leaders that their corporate taxes are going up from 21% to 28% if he becomes president. Biden also said he plans to put an end to the “era of shareholder capitalism” if he gets into the White House. 

Biden is ahead of Trump in most national polls, with a Real Clear Politics polling average showing the former vice president up nine points over the current commander in chief. 

Signum said some of the most notable progressive ideas that are not included in Biden’s policy recommendations are the Green New Deal, “Medicare for All” and the legalization of marijuana.  

“The result represents a very successful effort by Biden and his team to control the narrative and policy direction, while making just enough concessions to the progressive wing to avoid an open rift in the party,” the note said. Sanders would clearly disagree with that stance, as he recently said that if those policies are implemented it would make Biden “the most progressive president since [Franklin Delano Roosevelt].” 

The firm also said that the minimal details in the recommended economic policies show that Biden is on track to stay away from any major progressive overhauls. The firm takes aim at the suggested tax policy, saying it’s “light on details” and adds that the idea of reviewing mergers that took place under the Trump administration is missing a key mention of focusing on tech conglomerates. The big tech companies Facebook, Amazon and Google have been under scrutiny by Trump and Republican lawmakers for what they see as having too much power and having a bias against their party. Many Democrats in Congress have also been critical of the tech giants. 

Biden earlier in the day rolled out an over $700 billion “Buy American” campaign that would give a boost to U.S. manufacturing and technology firms. He said in his speech that Amazon needs to start paying federal income tax. 

“The days of Amazon paying nothing in federal income tax will be over,” Biden said. 

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