Bankers believe the Democratic presidential hopeful would “make life hell for them through regulatory process”, with some warning she “has got to be stopped”, according to commentators.
Ms Warren, a close second behind Joe Biden in recent polling about their party’s 2020 candidates, rose to national prominence by championing tougher banking regulations following last decade’s financial crisis. The Massachusetts senator has accused Wall Street of “looting the economy” and vowed to “rein in the financial industry” if elected.
During a panel discussion on CNBC, outspoken US television personality Jim Cramer said executives were “fearful of her winning”.
Mr Cramer, a former hedge fund manager who presents the network’s Mad Money, said Ms Warren was a “very compelling figure on the stump” and predicted she would win Iowa’s caucuses in February – the first major test of her presidential campaign. He claimed he had heard some Wall Street bankers say “she’s got to be stopped”.
Fellow CNBC panellist David Faber said he had heard similar concerns in the US financial district.
“It’s another reason why companies are being implored to do things now,” he said. “Because come early-to-mid-2020, if Elizabeth Warren’s rolling along, everybody is going to be like, ‘That’s it.’”
Philip Klinkner, a political scientist and professor at New York’s Hamilton College, said: “This tracks with my conversations with Wall Street types.”
He said Ms Warren’s Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, who has proposed taxing Wall Street to pay off student debt, was “seen as a more of a crank but ultimately non-threatening”.
Mr Klinkner added: “On the other hand, they really, really, really hate Elizabeth Warren. They know that she’s on to them and that she can make life hell for them through the regulatory process.”
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, a personal finance expert and former Wall Street reporter, said many banking executives were “indeed shaking in their boots over a Warren presidency”.
She suggested they were fearful that Ms Warren would “hold all financial organisations accountable”, protect consumers and “tax ultra millionaires”.
Some commentators on social media suggested Wall Street’s apparent opposition to the Democrat would stand in her favour. “This is the greatest Warren campaign ad possible,” tweeted left-wing activist Adam Best.
I'm Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message. https://t.co/2Ewkbm0ZwA
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren)
Ms Warren herself responded to a clip of the CNBC discussion that was posted on Twitter by tweeting: “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message.”
But some bankers have previously indicated they would prefer the senator to Mr Sanders, who is seen as her key challenger for the liberal vote.
“She’s preferable for many reasons,” Robert Wolf, a venture investor and former adviser to Barack Obama, told Politico in July. “She’s been very clear that she believes in fair capitalism. And the idea of promoting socialism I don’t think is a winning strategy if the goal is to beat President Trump.”