Jim Grant Bearish on BlackRock: Invest For Kids Chicago 2016 ~ market folly

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jim Grant Bearish on BlackRock: Invest For Kids Chicago 2016

We're posting up notes from the Invest For Kids 2016 investment conference.  Next up is Jim Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer who was bearish on BlackRock (BLK).

Jim Grant's Presentation at Invest For Kids Chicago 2016 

•    So much data – how do we know what is true?

•    Easy to be overwhelmed

•    Narratives as a belief system

•    Active investors accept or reject narratives; passible investors always accept the narrative by default

•    Markets are episodically efficient; they are no more coolly analytical than the people in them or the algorithms they write

•    Interest rates are certainly low – not good for my business model

•    Since 1997, the number of public companies in U.S. has been cut in half

•    Now we have the first nominally negative bond yields in 5,000 years

•    If Fed were late to raise rates it wouldn’t be the first time; likewise wouldn’t be the first time the bond market underestimated the fallibility of human beings

•    Bearish on Blackrock (BLK) 

•    Its motto should be “built for a time of falling rates, rising asset prices, massive inflows…”

•    Tailor-made for the financial moment

•    Hand-in-glove with the Fed – Blackrock is the Federal Reserve’s Wall Street doppelganger

•    BLK took in 18% of all mutual fund and ETF inflows in 2015

•    Assets may come, assets may go

•    Margins? There is a price war in passive. Fees are ~69 bps at BLK versus 15 at Vanguard. Further compression is likely.

•    BLK is at 18x EPS vs. 14x industry average

•    Massive amounts of insider selling at BLK without any buys

Be sure to check out the rest of the presentations from Invest For Kids 2016.

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