Financial sector still dominates city’s top companies: SEC

Financial firms   still number large in the top 100 publicly-traded companies in the city, SEC filings show.
Financial firms still number large in the top 100 publicly-traded companies in the city, SEC filings show. Photo Credit: NYPD

The city’s corporate bulls are still charging on Wall Street.

Despite all the focus on the flourishing tech scene, few technology firms broke into the 100 top-selling publicly traded companies in the city, according to data from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The financial sector still rounded out the bulk of the top 100 companies in the city.

“The financial services [sector] is still pulling its weight,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank focused on the local economy. “If you were to put this up to a list of the 100 largest companies in Silicon Valley or the Bay Area, it would be very different. I think you’d see a lot more media and technology companies, and it may be that there’s more of them on the New York list than before. When you look this over, it still very much reads like a list of financial services companies, some retail and some media.”

Bowles said private equity and hedge funds have been doing well and contributed to the financial sector’s growth. Banks and other financial service companies have moved low-level and mid-level jobs to places where real estate and other costs are lower, such as India, Ireland, Salt Lake City and Dallas, but the high-end positions have remained in the city, according to Bowles.

For the second year running, Verizon was the number one company on the list, with nearly $126 billion in annual sales. Tech companies on the top 100 list include Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., a game developer and IAC, the company behind websites like OkCupid and Dictionary.com.

City officials have applauded the burgeoning tech scene, now accounting for about 291,000 jobs and more than $124.7 billion in economic output, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

Still, it was not a surprise that few tech companies broke through the pack of financial, fashion and media firms that are longstanding industries in the city, said Peter Schwartz, a consultant at Anderson Economic Group.

He noted that tracking the city’s biggest publicly-traded companies does not necessarily capture larger trends in the economy. Additionally, many national and international companies have a significant presence in the city, but are headquartered elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t think tech growth would show up because California has such a large presence and foothold in the tech industry,” Schwartz said.

Correction: An ealrier version of this article misstated the name of the company behind OKCupid and Dictionary.com. It is IAC.

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