Alternatives

Blackstone is the largest alternative asset manager, with over $1 trillion in assets as of the end of last year. According to FactSet, Blackstone has a 19.7% revenue share of the diverse alternative investment market.

In total, it has stakes in 230 companies and around 12,500 real estate assets. While high interest rates and a significant slowing in IPOs and dealmaking have hurt many financial stocks, alternative asset managers are an exception, with a 45% gain in 2023, outpacing the S&P 500’s 24% increase. Blackstone climbed nearly 70%.

Blackstone is bullish in 2024 as it sees a bottom in real estate and an improved environment due to the Fed cutting rates. However, it doesn’t see a V-shaped recovery. Instead, the firm anticipates a longer period of bottoming out when there could be more dislocations. 

Weakness in real estate is reflected in Blackstone’s results, as 2023 earnings were down 23% from the previous year. Real estate revenue was down 51%. Its two major real estate funds were down 6% and 4% for the year, respectively. As a result, the firm only spent $15 billion on real estate investments, down from $47 billion the previous year. 


Finsum: Blackstone is the leading alternative investment manager in the world. Its stock was up nearly 70% in 2023, despite a double-digit drop in earnings. The company is bullish in 2024 due to the anticipation of a bottom in real estate and improved conditions with lower rates.  

On January 10, the SEC approved 11 spot bitcoin ETFs. Vanguard quickly made the decision to not offer a bitcoin ETF. The decision has been met with resistance from customers. Recently, CEO Tim Buckley provided more insight into this decision, given that this has been a constant source of inquiry.

Overall, the firm doesn’t believe that bitcoin is a suitable investment option for a retirement plan, given the asset’s volatility and speculative nature. Buckley also rejects the notion that bitcoin is a 'store of value’, pointing to its severe declines in the past and correlation with equities. For example, bitcoin dropped from $69,000 to $16,000 between 2021 and 2022, while the S&P 500 was down 21% during this period from peak to trough.

Buckley added that he doesn’t believe that Vanguard will offer a bitcoin ETF until something significantly shifts in the asset class. In contrast, Vanguard only invests in asset classes with underlying cash flow. With equities, this refers to the future earnings of a company. For bonds, it can be calculated through a bond’s coupon and principal. Since bitcoin has failed to function as an effective ‘store of value’ and generates no cash flow at the moment, it remains purely a speculative asset, which makes it inconsistent with Vanguard’s principles and ethos. 


Finsum: Vanguard is not offering a bitcoin ETF, unlike many of its major competitors. CEO Tim Buckley shared why bitcoin is more of a speculative asset and unfit for long-term investing. 

The U.S. has an extended history of periods of financial regulation, specifically trust-busting. That period has been in hibernation though for the last 50 years, that is, until now. Many judges in the United States may be getting a slue of cases related to similar topics with mergers and competition as Private Equity has extended its ownership to unprecedented levels. There is more alignment than ever within the administration on the future of competition and private equity when it comes to policy. They are pursuing new readings and interpretations of longer-standing precedents that will be more stringent on PE. This new strain of regulation has long-standing Democratic Economists like Larry Summers voicing concern, calling the new policies ‘populist antitrust’.


Finsum: There have been a large number of papers on the effect of co-ownership and competition that private equity companies are imposing, and that could be reaching its peak.

Page 5 of 12

Contact Us

Newsletter

Subscribe

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…