Why Mike Bloomberg Teamed With Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson And Hedge Fund Billionaire Tom Steyer On A Project Called “Risky Business”

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is now co-chairing the Risky Business initiative with Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.Forbes – by Kerry A. Dolan

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and hedge-fund-billionaire-turned-environmental-advocate Tom Steyerdon’t typically agree on political issues. Bloomberg is an independent, Paulson a Republican and Steyer a die-hard Democrat. But all three men share a concern for the economic impact of climate change on U.S.business. Last fall, they decided to do something about it, and embarked on what they’re calling the Risky Business initiative, a project that will culminate in a report that will spell out the likely economic impact of climate change on U.S. business.  

“I see this as a way to really impact the debate [on climate change],” said Hank Paulson, speaking from his office in Illinois. “It’s not just an environmental issue, it’s an economic issue. I thought investors were ignoring real risks of climate change.”

Paulson said the Risky Business report, to be released in June this year, is targeted at people who lead businesses of all sizes.  It will look at the economic impact on various industries and different regions. “It goes into great detail, right down to the county level,” Paulson explained, cautioning that, “none of this is certain in terms of timing or extent of impact. No doubt, there will be a very real impact.”

The report will not suggest solutions, leaving that for businesses to decide.

Does it matter that Paulson, Steyer and Bloomberg have different politics? “We like the fact that we came from different political backgrounds. The whole idea was: Let’s stay out of politics,” said Paulson. “People turn off on this issue for various reasons, and often they turn off over politics.”

Despite their differences, Paulson, Steyer and Bloomberg do have a background in finance as a commonality. Paulson spent 32 years at Goldman Sachs, culminating in an 8-year stint as the investment bank’s chief executive officer and chairman. Steyer worked at Goldman Sachs before founding San Francisco-based hedge fund Farallon Capital Management in 1986; he retired from Farallon in late 2012. Bloomberg worked at Salomon Brothers before founding financial media firm Bloomberg LP in 1981. Paulson said he knows Steyer from his days at Goldman Sachs; he has known Mike Bloomberg for many years and sits on the board of Bloomberg’s foundation.

Steyer first approached Paulson with the idea for the study, Paulson recalled. Steyer also talked to Mike Bloomberg about the idea.

Paulson would not say how much money the Risky Business initiative is projected to cost. “To me, all of this has felt like money well spent,” said Paulson. At the time he became Treasury Secretary in 2006, Paulson’s net worth was estimated at $700 million. Forbes estimates Tom Steyer’s net worth at $1.6 billion and Mike Bloomberg at $32.8 billion. All three men are active philanthropists.

The Risky Business initiative also announced today that it is partnering with Risk Management Solutions, a risk management firm, which will join the initiative staff to add analysis of the impacts of climate change on coastal infrastructure.

Follow me on Twitter at @KerryDolan


3 thoughts on “Why Mike Bloomberg Teamed With Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson And Hedge Fund Billionaire Tom Steyer On A Project Called “Risky Business”

  1. Do not be fooled, “climate change” it has nothing to do with weather, its WAR on business, mainly small business. They will break them, and then buy them for nothing.

  2. I want to be on the lottery to hunt for hank paulson . I think that would be a good place to start .

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