BlackRock's Rieder Learned Value of Moderation From 1980s Bond Blowup
BlackRock bond chief Rick Rieder learned long ago that making big bets is the easiest way to end up with outsize losses.
The head of fixed income at the world’s largest asset manager says he is distributing his wagers broadly in the face of unprecedented times. He doesn’t expect the pandemic recovery and fiscal stimulus to spur a wave of inflation that ends the long bull market in bonds, but he is also hedging those wagers after learning early in his career that being right isn’t the same thing as making money.
Recently, that has meant trimming assets sensitive to inflation and interest-rate swings, building up cash in his portfolios and buying more corporate loans for their higher returns. To the clients calling to ask whether the economy is overheating, he says price increases are likely temporary, but that the Federal Reserve will have to gradually reduce support for the economy—a prospect he doesn’t find daunting.
“We don’t think inflation is going to be that high for a persistent period of time,” says Mr. Rieder, 59 years old. “But if the markets believe in inflation, well that’s more important than whether six months from now people say, ‘Gosh, you were right.’”
His stance is a key marker on Wall Street, and it stands out at a time when broad inflation worries have racked markets. BlackRock handles $9 trillion in assets on behalf of investors around the globe. Mr. Rieder oversees roughly 20% of that. That alone would give his decisions reach far beyond the company. He is also known as a wizard at divining market forces from the swings of currencies or sovereign bonds.
Published at Sun, 16 May 2021 14:00:00 +0000
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