Julian Robertson, the legendary hedge fund manager behind Tiger Management, thinks central banks are fueling bubbles throughout financial markets.
“We don’t have negative rates here in the States yet, but I think it’s tragic that we’ve taken rates down this far,” Robertson said this week at Bloomberg’s Surveillance Primetime event. “I know the Federal Reserves all over the world are trying to ensure prosperity, but in doing so I think they are ensuring a huge bubble, which will be pricked, and we will all be hurt by it.”
Negative and near-zero interest rates from central banks have allowed increased borrowing at low costs. That money has in turn been poured into financial assets, and Robertson is worried that the inflated asset classes will eventually fall back to earth.
“I would tell [investors] that in my opinion, there is going to be chaos created by the negative and low interest rates,” Robertson told hosts Tom Keene and Mike McKee. “A conservative attitude has to be taken, whether that involves hedge funds or not is up to the individual investors. It is a way of ameliorating bubbles.”
The bond market is at the heart of the coming chaos, according to Robertson, who said bond-buying programs and negative-interest-rate policies had forced yields to record lows and driven prices to unsustainable levels.
“I don’t think that’s good, and I think that’s caused a big bubble in the bond market because people have nowhere else to put their money,” Robertson warned.
Pain in the bond market would spread far and wide, Robertson said. He said it would seriously affect financial stocks because banks are holding so many negative-yielding bonds, and the chaos would carry “over to real estate” when the bubble pops. In other words, there are risks wherever investors look.
“Unless they buy a beautiful piece of art like our ceiling or some picture or something of that nature,” Robertson said.