• WhatsApp Gets a Raw Deal in Payments

    WhatsApp Gets a Raw Deal in Payments

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Money is many things, but it’s not fake news. So why block WhatsApp from spreading it around?India is the laboratory of choice for Western tech firms to test out their mobile payment capabilities so they can be rolled out from Bangladesh to Nigeria. Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg entered the fray two years ago by enabling the popular messaging service WhatsApp to send and receive money in India. But the beta version, limited to 1 million users, keeps getting blocked from becoming a full-fledged service.Meanwhile, rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay, Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe and Softbank Group Corp.-backed Paytm are dominating India’s mobile transfers landscape. The troika led with 75 million, 60 million and 30 million customers transacting last month, respectively, according to TechCrunch.While Facebook Inc. deserves scrutiny globally for providing a platform for hate speech, voter manipulation and dissemination of untruth, cashless transfers is one area where WhatsApp can be a force for good. That’s especially true in emerging economies like India. As the Covid-19 lockdown has underscored, hundreds of millions of rural migrant workers in urban centers lack both liquid savings and a state-provided safety net. Increasingly ubiquitous smartphones can bring vulnerable citizens the financial security that bank branches can’t supply.   To restrain WhatsApp is a waste of the infrastructure India has built. Four years ago,  the country set up a shared interface linking more than 150 participating banks. An account holder in any of them can send or receive money to anybody else on the network. The two parties don’t need to know anything more than each other’s mobile number or a virtual ID. From Google to Walmart, any app can tap the common protocol, which already supports transactions worth more than 10% of gross domestic product. Google is so impressed it wants the U.S. Federal Reserve to consider adopting the standard. WhatsApp needs a nod from the regulator, the National Payments Corporation of India, to throw open the switch. The first roadblock was the central bank’s requirement that payment data be stored only locally. That hurdle has been crossed, but the service remains restricted. In February, a little-known think tank filed a lawsuit, asking India’s Supreme Court to block payments on WhatsApp “since it’s known to have failed to secure sensitive data of its users.” In an affidavit this week, WhatsApp said that the petition by the “busybody” was not maintainable. Legal challenges in India can drag on endlessly.The popularity of the messaging app, which has more than 400 million Indian users, is its biggest strength and its worst enemy. Take pinBox, which wants to introduce digital micro-pensions to the masses across Asia and Africa. It’s waiting eagerly for WhatsApp payments. The combination of financial and digital illiteracy can be a showstopper; it’s much easier to promote a saving culture on a messaging app where people spend most of their waking hours, anyway. The familiarity with the medium cuts both ways. Recently, the service was used to accuse Muslims in India of deliberately transmitting Covid-19, triggering assaults on the minority community. But then, disinformation isn’t limited either to WhatsApp or India. TikTok, the most-downloaded app during the pandemic, had posts claiming that 5G technology helps spread the virus, fueling violence against telecommunications workers and equipment across the U.K. and Europe. In India, the user-video platform has raised hackles for enabling sharing of content that promotes acid attacks on women.While regulators should push Zuckerberg to keep making social media safer, for instance by restricting message forwarding, they need to be pragmatic when it comes to online payments. China is far ahead. But that market, in the pincer grasp of Alipay and WeChat Pay wallets, isn’t open to U.S. firms. Besides, the scope for replacing cash is bigger in India, where 14% of money supply is still currency in circulation, a figure that China has crunched to 4%. The size of the opportunity is why India is attracting attention.Facebook recently took a 10% stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd. for $5.7 billion. Jio’s 4G network is India’s biggest, with nearly 400 million customers. Ambani, Asia’s richest man, wants to connect a billion-plus buyers with neighborhood stores, combining physical and digital retail. Payments via WhatsApp will be a way to achieve that link, with brands giving discounts and financiers offering in-store credit based on Jio’s scoring model.Others will catch up. Amazon.com Inc. is planning to take a $2 billion stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd., Jio’s closest rival, Reuters has reported. According to the Financial Times, Google is exploring an investment in Vodafone Group Plc’s struggling India wireless business. (Vodafone Idea Ltd. said there’s no such proposal before its board.) The rising global interest in digitizing the billion-plus-people economy could be sustained, as it coincides with what may be a long-drawn tech cold war between China and the West. Although India has recognized privacy to be a fundamental right, giving grounds for legal challenges against tech firms, it has yet to enact a data protection law. That’s where the focus has to be, not on limiting competition. The central bank needs to strike a balance between safeguarding financial stability and encouraging innovation such as “account aggregators,” who compile and share financial data with the consent of users looking for loans or insurance. With most manufacturing and services in disarray, helping money go viral is India’s best chance to break out of the Covid gloom.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Business Wire

    ROSEN, A LONGSTANDING AND TOP RANKED FIRM, Announces Filing of Securities Class Action Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo & Company; Encourages Investors with Losses in Excess of $100k to Contact the Firm – WFC

    Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) between April 5, 2020 and May 5, 2020, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for Wells Fargo investors under the federal securities laws.

  • SeaWorld Makes a Splash After Getting the Thumbs-Up to Reopen June 11
    Motley Fool

    SeaWorld Makes a Splash After Getting the Thumbs-Up to Reopen June 11

    People hankering for the fun of watching sea lions, orcas, or dolphins performing in a marine mammal show after spending several months in COVID-19 lockdown may have their chance as early as next Thursday, according to a press release from SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS). Discovery Cove, Aquatica Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando are all slated to reopen starting on June 11. The state of Florida has approved SeaWorld's reopening plan, allowing it to go ahead with its intention to start entertaining visitors again next week.

  • 3 big reasons retail brands die in America
    Yahoo Finance

    3 big reasons retail brands die in America

    Yahoo Finance looks at why once proud retail chains such as J.C. Penney have gone bankrupt.

  • U.S. Hiring Rebounds, Defying Forecasts for Surge in Joblessness

    U.S. Hiring Rebounds, Defying Forecasts for Surge in Joblessness

    (Bloomberg) -- America’s labor market defied forecasts for a Depression-style surge in unemployment, signaling the economy is picking up faster than anticipated from the coronavirus-inflicted recession amid reopenings and government stimulus.A broad gauge of payrolls rose by 2.5 million in May, trouncing forecasts for a sharp decline following a 20.7 million tumble the prior month that was the largest in records back to 1939, according to Labor Department data Friday. The jobless rate fell to 13.3% from 14.7%.U.S. stocks jumped after the report with the S&P 500 up 2.9%, adding to weeks of gains in equities since mid-March. The figures were so astonishing that President Donald Trump held a news conference, where he called the numbers “outstanding” and predicted further improvement before he’s up for re-election in November.Read more: Bloomberg’s TOPLive blog on the jobs reportWhile the overall picture improved, there are still major caveats: 21 million Americans remain unemployed with a jobless rate higher than any other time since 1940, indicating a full recovery remains far off with many likely to suffer for some time.And the return to work is uneven, with unemployment ticking up among African Americans to 16.8%, matching the highest since 1984, even as unemployment rates declined among white and Hispanic Americans. That comes amid nationwide protests over police mistreatment of African-Americans, which have drawn renewed attention to race-based inequality.What Bloomberg’s Economists Say“The May employment report showed that lifting lockdown measures in the beginning of the month drove broad-based improvement across various labor-market metrics... Despite this improvement, a significant gap between wage income growth and its recent trend suggests that an additional round of fiscal measures in the second half of the year, directly aimed at supporting the labor market, may still be required.”\-- Yelena Shulyatyeva, Andrew Husby and Eliza WingerRead more for the full reaction note.The unexpected improvement wasn’t limited to the U.S. figures. North of the border, Canadian employment rose 290,000 in May, compared with forecasts of a 500,000 slump, its statistics office reported Friday.The data show a U.S. economy pulling back from the brink as states relax restrictions and businesses bring back staff amid record government stimulus, including loans that were contingent on rehiring workers. At the same time, the lack of an effective treatment for Covid-19 -- which has already killed more than 100,000 in the U.S. -- means infections may persist and possibly surge in a second wave, with the potential to further shake the labor market and extend the economic weakness.“Clearly the labor market turned the corner in late April, early May. We’re seeing a rebound of labor-market activity,” said Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics, who had estimated a payrolls decline of 2 million, the second-closest estimate. He expects June economic and labor-market data to show further improvements and plans to revise up his forecast for second-quarter gross domestic product.The latest figures may give a boost to Trump, who has fallen behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden in polls amid dissatisfaction with the president’s response to the pandemic and the death of George Floyd. The numbers could also reduce pressure on policy for another round of fiscal support, with Democrats and Republicans at odds over the timing and scope of new measures following record aid approved by Congress.“The only thing that can stop us is bad policy, like raising taxes and the Green New Deal,” Trump said Friday. He also said he’ll ask Congress to pass more economic stimulus, including a payroll tax cut.Economist forecasts had called for a decline of 7.5 million in payrolls and a jump in the unemployment rate to 19%. No one in Bloomberg’s survey had projected improvement in either figure.One caution noted by the U.S. Labor Department: the unemployment rate “would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported,” so 16.3% if data were reported correctly, according to the agency’s statement. That refers to workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to other reasons, rather than unemployed on temporary layoff.The broader U-6, or underemployment rate -- which includes those who haven’t searched for a job recently or want full-time employment -- fell only slightly to 21.2% in May from 22.8%. In February, it was 7%, with the main unemployment rate at a half-century low of 3.5%.Read more:U.S. Jobless Claims Slow While Underscoring Persistent WeaknessFed Vow Boosts Debt Binge While Borrowers Cut Thousands of JobsOne-Third of America’s Record Unemployment Payout Hasn’t ArrivedNext Wave of U.S. Job Cuts Targets Millions of Higher-Paid WorkersWhat Pandemic’s Toll Reveals About Jobs in America: QuickTakeThe employment-population ratio rose to 52.8% from 51.3%. The participation rate -- or the sum of employed and unemployed Americans as a share of the working-age population -- advanced to 60.8% from 60.2%, with both indicating people are coming back to work.Hiring in May was broad-based, with hard-hit restaurants rebounding along with retail and health care. But state and local government workers were hammered for a second month, with 571,000 job cuts.“The bounceback started earlier than most expected, but don’t get too excited about this one month of data,” said Nick Bunker, an economic-research director at jobs website Indeed. “Sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus are the ones seeing the largest bounceback in employment.”Manufacturing payrolls rose by 225,000, following a 1.32 million decline in April.The share of the unemployed on temporary layoff fell to 73% from a record-high 78.3%. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists said before the report that if job losses remain concentrated in furloughs, “it would increase the scope for a more rapid labor market recovery.”Average hourly earnings for employed private workers rose 6.7% in May from a year ago, following 8% in April, as the return of low-wage workers skewed pay figures back downward a bit.(Adds Bloomberg Economics comment. A previous version corrected the prior month’s wage figure in last paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Wells Fargo Is the Canary In the Coal Mine for Subprime Auto Lenders
    Motley Fool

    Wells Fargo Is the Canary In the Coal Mine for Subprime Auto Lenders

    The big bank has stopped making car loans through most independent auto dealers, which suggests that lenders more reliant on auto loans are headed for trouble.

  • 3 Goldman Sachs Funds for Spectacular Returns

    3 Goldman Sachs Funds for Spectacular Returns

    Below we share with you three top-ranked Goldman Sachs mutual funds. Each has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank 1 (Strong Buy).

  • Are Amazon and Walmart Ready to Face This Gigantic Challenge?
    Motley Fool

    Are Amazon and Walmart Ready to Face This Gigantic Challenge?

    The looming threat of Reliance Retail's move into e-commerce business in India has been hanging over Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) for quite some time now. Led by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Retail has been gradually testing the waters of India's e-commerce space that is currently dominated by Amazon and Walmart subsidiary Flipkart.

  • Warren Buffett's Next Bulk Purchase Should Be Costco

    Warren Buffett's Next Bulk Purchase Should Be Costco

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Warren Buffett says “nothing can stop America.” To put his money where his mouth is and spend some of his $137 billion stash before this crisis is over, he wouldn’t have to look far. If there’s one company that warrants the dealmaker’s attention, it may be Costco Wholesale Corp., a retailer in which Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. already owns a stake. At Berkshire’s virtual shareholder meeting last month, Buffett signaled that the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t afforded him deal opportunities at bargain-basement prices the way past economic meltdowns have. Despite the nationwide shutdowns that are just starting to lift and a soaring unemployment rate, the S&P 500 Index is only 8% off its February all-time high. That’s partly due to aggressive actions taken by the Federal Reserve to mitigate the crisis, though one can’t deny that there exists an astonishing disconnect between stock prices and the economic realities of many Americans right now.Costco wouldn’t be a typical crisis-era bet for Buffett in this regard. The shares are up, not down, this year and its operations have carried on throughout the pandemic. Zoom, Netflix, TikTok, Costco — the retailer is right up there with those services that have become centerpieces of the stay-at-home recession.But in so many other ways a Costco deal would still be classic Buffett. For starters, Buffett already likes Costco. Berkshire has owned the stock for two decades; its 1% stake is valued at about $1.3 billion currently. Buffett’s business partner Charlie Munger, the 96-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, also sits on Costco’s board. Last year, Buffett even publicly marveled at Costco’s in-house Kirkland brand, which at that point had $39 billion of annual sales. “Here’s somebody like Costco, establishes a brand called Kirkland and it’s doing $39 billion — more than virtually any food company,” including Kraft Heinz Co., he said. Berkshire is Kraft Heinz’s largest shareholder.Costco has proven during this crisis that it has a durable brand and a wide competitive moat, two of the key attributes Buffett looks for. More than 90% of Costco’s U.S. club members renew, and globally the rate is nearly as high at 88%. Those warehouse memberships are a predictable source of cash flow, almost akin to Berkshire’s insurance float that Buffett uses to invest. While the majority of Costco’s 787 warehouse clubs are in the U.S. and Canada, it does have locations in Mexico, the U.K., Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia. It’s also expanding in China, offering Buffett exposure to the country’s growing middle class.Costco’s same-store sales have risen 6.5% on average for the last 10 quarters, topping other U.S. mass retailers including Walmart Inc., the parent of Sam’s Club. Costco also generated more than $1,300 of sales per square foot in fiscal 2019 — more than any of its peers.The share price has gotten a bump from all the panic-shopping, and at 34 times earnings, Costco’s valuation certainly isn’t what Buffett would call cheap. But Costco should continue to fare well in a post-virus America, especially if it leads some residents to ditch cities for suburbs and spend more time at home. After the meat and toilet paper shortages, more shoppers may even turn to bulk-buying to be better prepared for future lockdowns or shortages.The biggest hurdle to a takeover is that Costco’s market value is $137 billion — precisely the amount of cash Berkshire has available. Berkshire’s last major acquisition was Precision Castparts, a maker of airplane engine parts, for $37 billion in 2016. After years spent searching for his next target, Buffett signaled recently that his hunt is on hold, suggesting that he thinks the crisis could still get worse before it gets better. “The cash position isn’t that huge when I look at the worst-case possibilities,” he told a stunned audience last month that tuned into the livestreamed annual meeting expecting to hear something a little more upbeat or at least hopeful from the Oracle of Omaha.(1)Berkshire could simply increase its stake in Costco, a stable holding that pays a 70-cent quarterly dividend. But it wasn’t all that long ago that Buffett spoke of the possibility of an acquisition Costco’s size. “If a $100 billion deal came along that Charlie [Munger] and I really liked, we’d get it done,” he said in May 2018. With Buffett set to turn 90 in August, it would be uncharacteristic to not want to do one last splashy transaction.It also wouldn’t be the first time Berkshire acquired one of its stock holdings. Berkshire owned shares in Precision Castparts before that deal. It also took a stake in the BNSF railroad in 2007 and kept adding to that position until it eventually purchased the whole company. Berkshire’s ownership of Geico even dates back to the 1950s when Buffett first bought shares and as a curious young investor began a serendipitous friendship with the insurer’s former CEO, Lorimer Davidson, as Buffett often retells it.Whether as a takeover candidate or stock pick, Buffett’s best option may be right under his nose. (1) One well-known shareholder, Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, even exited its Berkshire position, deciding itcan find worthwhile investing opportunities faster than Berkshire can at this rate.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Is Goldman Sachs a Buy?
    Motley Fool

    Is Goldman Sachs a Buy?

    Berkshire Hathaway made news in May when it sold most of its shares in investment bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). While Berkshire Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett didn't elaborate, the move was likely part of his efforts to de-risk the portfolio, as my colleague Matthew Frankel wrote about back on May 19. Goldman was not the only financial stock that Buffett dumped, but it was his biggest sell, as he dropped more than 10 million shares.

  • Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report

    Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in No. 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd. for at least $2 billion, Reuters reported, joining Facebook Inc. and other U.S. giants in betting on one of the world’s fastest-growing internet arenas.The U.S. online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% stake in the Indian wireless operator, Reuters said, citing anonymous sources. A deal will help Amazon access Bharti’s 300 million subscribers -- a user base akin to the entire U.S. population. On Friday, the Indian carrier said in a statement it wasn’t considering any proposal to sell a stake to Amazon, referring to reports as “speculative.”American technology and investment giants have been buying stakes in Indian companies to build their presence in Asia’s second-most populous nation. Facebook agreed to invest about $5.7 billion into a unit of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. in April, while Microsoft Corp. is reportedly considering a stake in the same company.Amazon already has deep roots in India, where Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has visited and vowed to build one of his biggest e-commerce operations outside of the U.S. Bezos, now the world’s richest man, said during a trip in January that his company would invest another $1 billion on top of the billions it’s shelled out to bring small and medium-size businesses online. Amazon is now vying with Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart to tap an increasingly affluent population adopting smartphones at a rapid clip.Read more: Jeff Bezos’s India Visit Marked by Probe and ProtestsAn Amazon spokeswoman in India declined to comment. “We routinely work with all digital and OTT players and have deep engagement with them to bring their products, content and services for our wide customer base. Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” a Bharti spokesperson said.An influx of capital would be welcome to New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, which has come under pressure to beef up its offerings ever since Ambani’s technology venture went on a deal spree to secure about $10 billion in investment from Facebook to KKR & Co. Airtel’s billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal may be looking to leverage the diverse businesses in his empire just as Ambani goes into overdrive to transform his oil-and-petrochemicals company into an Indian e-commerce and digital payments titan with Jio Platforms.Read more: How Facebook’s Reliance Deal Upends a $1 Trillion Digital ArenaIn its 25 years of operations, Bharti Airtel has survived frequent policy changes in one of the world’s toughest telecommunications markets. It lost its position as India’s largest wireless carrier last year to Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which debuted in 2016 and shook up the industry with free calls and cheap data. The most recent blow to Bharti Airtel came in October, when the nation’s top court in a shock ruling ordered it to pay $3 billion in back fees.The technology ambitions of Ambani, Asia’s richest man, have turned the spotlight on his telecommunications rivals, including Vodafone Idea Ltd., the struggling Indian business of British operator Vodafone Group Plc. The Financial Times reported May 28 that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in that venture. Vodafone Idea said it isn’t currently considering any such proposal.Besides telecommunications, Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises has businesses spanning insurance, real estate, education and farm food.(Updates with Bharti Airtel’s comment from the second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • A Goldman Executive Has Advice for His White Colleagues

    A Goldman Executive Has Advice for His White Colleagues

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- To everyone who's asked me some variant of "how's it going?" over the past month, I've probably lied. Or lacked the words to articulate it fully, but I’m giving it a shot.Obviously, my experience is just one along a continuum of black experiences, and I don't presume to speak for all black people — or even all black people at Goldman Sachs, where I have worked for six years. But the past few months have been demoralizing, and family/friends/colleagues I've spoken with and listened to across the firm and country seem to share this feeling.Being black has been nothing if not instructive. I've learned history — and why people live where they do and why those in positions of power often don't look like me. I've learned that bad things are more likely to happen to black people solely because they're black. I learned which of my friends' parents didn't want me in the house when I was growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and who would be blamed if my friends broke the law.I've learned how to prove I’m intelligent, to prove I’m not threatening, to prove I’m innocent after being assumed guilty. To prove human as this country litigates my personhood in case after case. It is as if our lives are expendable but we could never rebuild a burned storefront. As if Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent philosophy allowed him to opt out of death by white supremacy. As if the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging communities of color is an acceptable, inevitable cost, and our lives just aren’t worth the points off GDP. It’s a lot to process.My family immigrated to the U.S. in 1990 from Nigeria. We were living in New Orleans while both my parents studied at Tulane University. My earliest memory in this country was the assault on Rodney King, when a group of Los Angeles police officers brutally and repeatedly beat an unarmed citizen on March 3, 1991. The officers involved lied about the attack, which was captured on film by an amateur photographer.On March 16, 1991, Soon Ja Du, an L.A. convenience store owner, shot 15-year-old Latasha Harlins in the back of the head. Du accused Harlins of attempting to steal a $1.79 bottle of orange juice, grabbed Harlins, and then killed her as she attempted to leave the store. Harlins had the cash in hand, and the police concluded that she had intended to pay.On Nov. 15, 1991, a jury found Du guilty of voluntary manslaughter and recommended the maximum sentence of 16 years’ jail time. The trial judge overruled the jury recommendation, stating that Du behaved "inappropriately" but understandably. Du was instead sentenced to five years’ probation, 400 hours of community service and a $500 fine.At the end of April 1992, an appeals court upheld the Du sentencing decision and, separately, a jury acquitted all four officers in the King case. That combination kicked off six days of protests, which resulted in 63 deaths — 10 due to shootings by law enforcement — eclipsing the toll in the city's Watts protests of 1965.At the time, I remember seeing the video and footage from the protests, and hearing Rodney King's famous "can we all get along?" statement repeated over and over.Then, as now, the central issue was violence against people of color with seeming impunity.A decade later, in April 2001, while I was living in Cincinnati where my parents were both teachers at Xavier University, 19-year old Timothy Thomas was killed by a Cincinnati patrolman during a police pursuit. Officers were looking to arrest Thomas for traffic violations and other minor offenses, and he was shot point-blank by one of them. The officer claimed he believed that Thomas was reaching for a gun, although subsequent investigations determined that he was likely adjusting his pants.As is common in these cases, Thomas's life and death hinged on an officer's distinction between being uncomfortable and being afraid. And like many of these cases, the officer's claimed belief of bodily danger legitimized the use of deadly force. I always did well in school, and this lesson was clear: Peoples’ fear of me as a black male could be fatal.The protests after Thomas’s death lasted five days and centered around Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine district, which was a predominantly black, heavily policed community where the shooting took place. The median household income in Over-the-Rhinewas about $8,600 at the time (the community has since become whiter and wealthier through gentrification).Thomas’s murder also kicked off a local debate sometimes described as “respectability politics," with some black leaders blaming black culture for Thomas's death and advocating behavioral changes. The issue was not the extrajudicial killing of a U.S. citizen for “driving without a license" citations; it was a lack of respect for law and order.If we as black people changed our behavior, pulled our pants up and were respectable, all our problems would be answered. If our parents took a firmer hand, beat us when needed, and policed our behavior, law enforcement officials wouldn't have to. But this didn’t save Amadou Diallo, for instance.Fast forward another 10 years, to November 2011, when I was living in Chicago and working at the proprietary trading firm GETCO. As I was leaving a recreation-league dodgeball game one evening on the Near North Side, I was approached by two police officers. They asked where I was coming from, and I explained.The officers told me that I matched the description of an individual who had reportedly stolen from a residence in the area. The description was of a black male in shorts and a T-shirt, with no other details. No color for either article of clothing, and in a city with just under one million black people, I was obviously the culprit.I'd clearly spent too much time around hyper-rational people who respected me and knew where I went to school and how much money I made. In a lapse of judgment, I tried to explain how absurd it all was while presenting my ID. They slammed me against the hood of a police cruiser. The officer who shoved me looked afraid more than anything, and while I was confident I could have taken both in a fair fight, guns are scary so I worked to de-escalate the situation.I was basically living out my nightmare of at least the past 10 years, where I’d need to defend myself from a potentially lethal encounter with law enforcement. My plan had been, if things went left, to fight, rush to my apartment, call the legal counsel at my employer and negotiate turning myself in. Fortunately, my de-escalating worked. The officers patted me down, jostled me a bit, emptied the contents of my wallet into the street item by item, and detained me for another 20 minutes, while I shivered in shorts and a T-shirt in the November cold. They finally let me go when another officer (possibly their superior) asked what they were doing and said, “That's not him.”I went home, and I cried for the first time in years. Then I filed a report with the Chicago Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), complaint 1050215. Then I flew to London for a work trip, noted how well the Brits treated class-signaling blacks (obviously not the full story), and considered never coming back to the U.S.But I returned to Chicago and gave an in-person statement. And I waited.I was still waiting in Chicago in February 2012 when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in Florida. Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013, the impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement. And I had more interactions with police officers. And the head of IPRA resigned in 2013. And IPRA closed my complaint file, claiming that their "findings of the events that occurred differed from the account provided" without further detail.In June 2014 I moved to New York to start a new job at Goldman Sachs. And in July 2014, Eric Garner was killed by NYPD officers who approached him on suspicion of selling "loosies" (individual cigarettes) without the proper tax stamps. In August 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, after allegedly stealing a box of Swisher Sweet cigarillos. Several weeks of protests followed.In 2015, news broke that the Chicago Police Department had been running a "black site" undisclosed interrogation facility in the Homan Square neighborhood, where over 7,000 civilians had been detained since 2004; 80% of the detainees were black Americans.And the new head of IPRA resigned. And a City of Chicago lawyer resigned after burying evidence related to the killing of Darius Pinex by two police officers in 2011. The previous ruling (in which the shooting was deemed justified) was later thrown out, and a retrial was ordered.Years pass, and the same story plays out again and again.On Feb. 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was ambushed and killed by a former police officer and his son in Glynn County, Georgia. On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was killed in Kentucky by Louisville Metro Police officers serving a "no-knock warrant" related to two individuals already in police custody. Kenneth Walker, who was Taylor's partner, fired on the officers with a licensed firearm, and then called 911 to report the home invasion and shooting of his girlfriend while officers stood outside. Walker was initially charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer; charges were dropped in May 2020. George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down. Floyd was extrajudicially killed on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a local market.So as to the question — “how’s it going?” — it’s not going great. While I appreciate how many colleagues and others have reached out and expressed solidarity, I would appreciate it more if people in finance and business would instead do the following:1. Reach out to and support diverse analysts and associates within your firms and businesses; a common bit of feedback from junior colleagues at Goldman Sachs is that while there is a commitment to equality and social justice up top, they don't necessarily see commitment and support from their direct managers.2. Donate money to advocacy organizations. There are six times as many white Americans as black Americans. The more people who get off the sidelines, the better.3\. Donate time to advocacy organizations and directly to members of disadvantaged groups.4. Support minority-owned businesses. Policing is closely tied to class, just as socioeconomics are closely tied to race.The interracial wealth gap is huge. Our society naturally defends vested economic interests, and while it won't solve everything, economic empowerment and sociopolitical empowerment are closely linked.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Frederick Baba is a managing director at Goldman Sachs and a member of its systematic market-making and interest rate product groups.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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