High-earning women execs make attractive bank targets

By Scott Suttell

Heather Ettinger, managing partner at Fairport Asset Management in Cleveland, is among the experts quoted in this Bloomberg story about banks’ increasing efforts to court high-earning women executives as customers.

The piece starts with a description of a Wells Fargo event called “Women Unscripted,” aimed at attracting and retaining women executives as clients.

“Instead of focusing on financial planning or products for women, there was a presentation by Saj-nicole Joni, who advises chief executive officers as president of Cambridge International Group,” which describes itself as a “thinking partner” for executives, Bloomberg notes. “After the discussion there was a chance to mingle at a wine tasting in the adjacent library.”

It’s a case of following the money.

Bloomberg reports that about 27% of millionaires worldwide were women in 2010, compared with 24% in 2008, according to a report released in June by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. The story notes that women controlled an estimated $20 trillion globally as of 2009, “a figure that is expected to rise by an average 8% annually through 2014.”

Ms. Ettinger tells Bloomberg that banks and advisers trying to add female clients “need to tailor their approach without clumping all women together.” Executive women clients are the fastest-growing segment of Ms. Ettinger’s business, Bloomberg notes. The firm manages about $750 million in assets.

Collective effort

New York Times op-ed piece uses the much-lauded Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland as an example of how America can address income inequality by getting workers more involved in “co-ops, worker-owned companies and other alternatives to the traditional capitalist model.”

Gar Alperovitz, a professor of political economy at the University of Maryland, writes that about 130 million Americans participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions. He notes that more than 13 million Americans have become worker-owners of more than 11,000 employee-owned companies, about 6 million more than belong to private-sector unions.

“And worker-owned companies make a difference,” Prof. Alperovitz writes. “In Cleveland, for instance, an integrated group of worker-owned companies, supported in part by the purchasing power of large hospitals and universities, has taken the lead in local solar-panel installation, ‘green’ institutional laundry services and a commercial hydroponic greenhouse capable of producing more than three million heads of lettuce a year.”

He says “growing economic pain has provided a further catalyst” for co-ops.

“The Cleveland cooperatives are an answer to urban decay that traditional job training, small business and other development strategies simply do not touch,” Prof. Alperovitz writes. “They also build on a 30-year history of Ohio employee-ownership experiments traceable to the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s and ’80s.

He notes approvingly that U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Avon Democrat, “is developing legislation to support worker-owned strategies like that of Cleveland in other cities. And several policy analysts have proposed expanding existing government set-aside procurement programs for small businesses to include co-ops and other democratized enterprises.”

Death be not proud

Death sentences and executions are dropping sharply, according to this Wall Street Journalstory, though Ohio remains near the top of the list in putting criminals to death.

The Journal says a “sharp drop in violent crime, the high cost of pursuing executions and shifts in state sentencing laws” have helped push the number of new death sentences in the U.S. to the lowest level in 35 years, according to a report (pdf) published today by the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization.

The report found that 78 people were sentenced to death for their crimes this year, a 30% drop from 2010. It noted that 43 people were executed in the United States this year, down from 46 in 2010. The latest numbers “extend a long-term decline in new death sentences and yearly executions since 2000,” The Journal says. “In that year, there were 224 new death sentences and 85 executions.”

Texas carried out the most executions in 2011, with 13, followed by Alabama with six and Ohio with five.

Douglas Berman, a sentencing-law expert at Ohio State University, tells The Journal one reason states are turning away from the death penalty is because capital cases can be extremely costly.

“States are just taking a harder look than ever at whether an individual case is worth it,” he said.

This will keep them on their toes

The move to California hasn’t made things easier for the troupe that used to be called the San Jose-Cleveland Ballet.

The Bay Citizen reports that as what’s now Ballet San Jose prepares for its annual “Nutcracker” performances, “it appears that all is not visions of sugarplums. The company’s plans for 2012 have not been made public, leaving its dancers and artistic director in the dark, as well.”

The troupe, under Dennis Nahat, has been in San Jose full-time since 2000. Finances aren’t easy for the high arts these days, and the newspaper reports that Ballet San Jose “abruptly canceled its fall 2011 production” and is presenting a “Nutcracker” season of 10 shows, down from 14 last year.

Mr. Nahat, the company’s artistic director and founder of the former Cleveland Ballet, tells The Bay Citizen that no other productions, to his knowledge, are currently in the works or in rehearsal. “The dancers have not been told of the company’s plans either, and questions to the management from their union representative have not been answered,” The Bay Citizenreports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Mr. Nahat is close to being forced out of his post.

“It’s a peculiar and precarious situation,” he tells the newspaper. I am still an employee of the ballet, I am still management, but if there are changes being made, I am not privy to them.”

Source: Cleveland Business website (December 2011)

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