Chendi Ni is a quantitative strategist within Goldman Sachs’ strats group who started his investment banking career in July last year. He is also one of only two Goldman Sachs’ employees to nail his colors to the mast of Donald Trump’s campaign to be president.
Admittedly, Ni’s colors aren’t especially flamboyant. He donated a mere $40 towards Trump in June, according to records on the Federal Election Commission. Ni’s contribution brings the money Goldman employees have donated to Trump to a ‘grand’ total of $574. The other donor, in case you’re wondering is Luke Thorburn, a financial adviser who was suspended for starting a website selling ‘Make America Great Again’ pro-Trump caps.
Goldman’s upper management has long been pro-Clinton, but the bank took a formal stance against Trump in September by banning its senior employees from donating to his campaign. Based on donations, Ni is therefore in a tiny Trump-favoring minority at Goldman, where the majority has donated $201,206 towards Hilary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton donors include Laura Blankfein – CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s wife, Colleen Foster, the global head of commodities, and Jonny Fine, head of investment grade syndicate.
It’s not just Goldman. Trump supporters are in the minority at most large Wall Street banks. Three people at Deutsche Bank have donated just $554 to his campaign, for example. Among them is Stefan James, a managing director and head of corporate banking coverage. Five people at Credit Suisse gave a total of $333 to Trump’s campaign. The most senior of these is John Slonieski, who was a managing director and head of consumer and vehicle asset finance. He’s now a sector manager at hedge fund Candlewood Investment Management.
Outside of the big banks Anthony Scaramucci, founder of hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, is a supporter of Trump. John Paulson attended a Trump $50k a head fundraiser in June. Andy Beal, a billionaire banker, is reportedly behind the pro-Trump spin-off campaign titled, ‘Save America From Its Government.’
Supporting Trump on Wall Street is fast-becoming the U.S. equivalent of being a Brexiteer in the City of London. Things didn’t work out for London bankers who supported the Remain campaign, and it’s possible that Trump is moving from the position of outsider to contender as Clinton’s lead has now been cut to a mere 1.5 points.
What should you do if you’re a Wall Street banker who’s pro-Trump? Stay low key, seems to be the answer. “Most people on Wall Street tend to keep their political views very close to their chest,” says Chris White, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs who now runs his own capital markets consultancy ViableMkts. “Trump is polarising, so I don’t think anyone is middle of the road now.”
“The markets are clearly showing that they favor a Hillary win,” adds Mark Franczyk, a former executive director at J.P Morgan who now runs his own food blog. “With that clearly indicated in trading, to say you’re pro-Trump is to conjure up all of the nasty baggage like the racism, misogyny and isolationism. I think most are smart enough to keep that to themselves.”
Photo: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. by Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0