Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
The Connection Between Stocks and the Economy is not What Most Investors Think - 19th Sep 20
A Virus So Deadly, The Government Has to Test You to See If You Have It - 19th Sep 20
Will Lagarde and Mnuchin Push Gold Higher? - 19th Sep 20
RTX 3080 Mania, Ebay Scalpers Crazy Prices £62,000 Trollers Insane Bids for a £649 GPU! - 19th Sep 20
A Greater Economic Depression For The 21st Century - 19th Sep 20
The United Floor in Stocks - 19th Sep 20
Mobile Gaming Market Trends And The Expected Future Developments - 19th Sep 20
The S&P 500 appears ready to correct, and that is a good thing - 18th Sep 20
It’s Go Time for Gold Price! Next Stop $2,250 - 18th Sep 20
Forget AMD RDNA2 and Buy Nvidia RTX 3080 FE GPU's NOW Before Price - 18th Sep 20
Best Back to School / University Black Face Masks Quick and Easy from Amazon - 18th Sep 20
3 Types of Loans to Buy an Existing Business - 18th Sep 20
How to tell Budgie Gender, Male or Female Sex for Young and Mature Parakeets - 18th Sep 20
Fasten Your Seatbelts Stock Market Make Or Break – Big Trends Ahead - 17th Sep 20
Peak Financialism And Post-Capitalist Economics - 17th Sep 20
Challenges of Working from Home - 17th Sep 20
Sheffield Heading for Coronavirus Lockdown as Covid Deaths Pass 432 - 17th Sep 20
What Does this Valuable Gold Miners Indicator Say Now? - 16th Sep 20
President Trump and Crimes Against Humanity - 16th Sep 20
Slow Economic Recovery from CoronaVirus Unlikely to Impede Strong Demand for Metals - 16th Sep 20
Why the Knives Are Out for Trump’s Fed Critic Judy Shelton - 16th Sep 20
Operation Moonshot: Get Ready for Millions of New COVAIDS Positives in the UK! - 16th Sep 20
Stock Market Approaching Correction Objective - 15th Sep 20
Look at This Big Reminder of Dot.com Stock Market Mania - 15th Sep 20
Three Key Principles for Successful Disruption Investors - 15th Sep 20
Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Warns of 10% Inflation - 15th Sep 20
Gold Price Reaches $2,000 Amid Dollar Depreciation - 15th Sep 20
GLD, IAU Big Gold ETF Buying MIA - 14th Sep 20
Why Bill Gates Is Betting Millions on Synthetic Biology - 14th Sep 20
Stock Market SPY Expectations For The Rest Of September - 14th Sep 20
Gold Price Gann Angle Update - 14th Sep 20
Stock Market Recovery from the Sharp Correction Goes On - 14th Sep 20
Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
The Silver Big Prize - 13th Sep 20
U.S. Shares Plunged. Is Gold Next? - 13th Sep 20
Why Are 7,500 Oil Barrels Floating on this London Lake? - 13th Sep 20
Sheffield 432 Covid-19 Deaths, Last City Centre Shop Before Next Lockdown - 13th Sep 20
Biden or Trump Will Keep The Money Spigots Open - 13th Sep 20
Gold And Silver Up, Down, Sideways, Up - 13th Sep 20
Does the Stock Market Really "See" the Future? - 12th Sept 20
Basel III and Gold, Silver and Platinum - 12th Sept 20
Tech Stocks FANG Index Nearing Critical Support – Could Breakout At Any Moment - 12th Sept 20
The Tech Stocks Quantum AI EXPLOSION is Coming! - 12th Sept 20
AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 Questions Answered on Cores, Prices, Benchmarks and Threadripper Launch - 12th Sept 20
The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
Gold / Silver Ratio: Slowly I Toined… - 11th Sep 20
Stock Market Correction or Reversal? The Jury Isn't Out! - 11th Sep 20
Crude Oil – The Bearish Outlook Remains - 11th Sep 20
Crude Oil Breaks Lower – Sparking Fears Of Another Sub $30 Price Collapse - 11th Sep 20
Inflation by Fiat - 10th Sep 20
Unemployment Rate Drops. Will It Drag Gold Down? - 10th Sep 20
How Does The Global Economy Recover After This Global Pandemic? - 10th Sep 20
The Best Mobile Casino - 10th Sep 20
QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
AMD Ryzen Zen 3 4800x 10 Core 5ghz CPU, Cinebench Benchmark Scores (Est.) - 9th Sep 20
Stock Traders’ Dreams Come True – Big Technical Price Swings Pending on SP500 - 9th Sep 20
Should You Be Concerned About The Stock Market Big Downside Rotation? - 9th Sep 20
Options Traders Keep "Opting" for Even Higher Stock Market Prices - 8th Sep 20
Gold Stocks in Correction Mode - 8th Sep 20
The law of long-term time preference and Gold ownership - 8th Sep 20
Gold Bull Markets: History and Prospects Ahead - 8th Sep 20
Sheffield City Centre Coronavirus Shopping Opera Ahead of Second Covid-19 Peak - 8th Sep 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Huge Discrepancy Between Investment Income and Public Liabilities

Politics / US Politics May 23, 2013 - 08:07 AM GMT

By: Fred_Sheehan

Politics

The difficulty of institutions that need cash for payment have grown acute during the chalk-brained professors' zero-interest-rate pogrom. Insurance companies are one victim, pension plans another. Looking specifically at defined-benefit pension plans, the plan sponsor (corporation, maybe, or municipality) is obligated to pay current and future retirees a specific dollar amount from now until a spouses' death.


The discrepancy between income received from investments and cash needed to pay beneficiaries of public (state, municipal) pension plans dumbfounds the mathematically inclined. Actuaries make long-term projections of returns on assets and the change in liabilities. The assets on hand to pay benefits in 2025 will not look as susceptible to downgrade if the actuary projects annual investment returns at 8% rather than 3%. Thus, 8% is a typical investment return projected on plan assets today. High-yield bonds are often a sanctuary to justify such assumptions. Now in our fifth year of interest-rate confiscation, such bonds are bought, then bid up for their yields, thus compromising the virtue of such holdings since the higher prices drive the yields lower.

Buy NowInvestment managers supply what pension funds want. It has been a curiosity that private-equity funds, that do a little bit of everything today, have been buying houses in quantities not seen since the Bolsheviks annexed Moscow. Among others, Texas Pacific Group (TPG Capital Management LP) is planning to buy at least $1 billion of real estate later this year. Others with similar initiatives, who are known better for buying companies, taking them private, then selling them back to the market, are Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, and KKR. Other than the certainty that most similar organizations, be they private-equity firms or banks, spend more time looking at their competitors than at the investment, thereby misestimating the end of the cycle, why might there be this lurch for houses in 2013?

Art Cashin, at UBS wondered the same, and asked one of the "very smartest" investors he knows. He quoted his informant in the March 15, 2013, "Cashin's Comments":

"The more headlines I see like this [TPG buying $1 billion of real estate - FJS], the more I think these mega fund managers (KKR, Carlyle, Blackstone, Apollo) are gearing for the next leg of the MACRO economy. My opinion, this aggressive move into real estate is not just allocating capital to take advantage of a distressed sector. Funds managing $50 to 100 billion and more in some cases have determined that there is just not enough hedging product (CDS, options) to offset massive positions in private equity, credit, etc. I believe they have made the bet that economic theory has not changed that much in 500 years and the next leg will be much higher interest rates and consequently inflation. What is the poor fund manager to do when he has been forced to hold largely illiquid securities (private equity, credit)? Find a hedge. With none available at 35,000 feet you move to 70,000 feet. Hard assets combined with LONG term financing. I would guess that these funds are borrowing as much as possible in the debt markets for as long a duration is possible. (Not just funds, Disney and others have 100 year bonds)

"Conclusion, smart money is betting on coming inflation, possibly hyper-inflation. Hard assets and long term borrowing prudent at this point. Thesis supports a bid under real estate, so bubble is not imminent. Buy as much real estate as possible, borrow as much as possible (FIXED RATE), for as long a duration as possible.

"And of course, stay very nimble with a tip of the hat......"

"The next leg" of inflation is apparent all day long: subway, parking, magazine, soup, sandwich, oil change, groceries: from $3.29 to $3.69, a seven-ounce rather than nine-ounce serving. The collective American mind, having been told otherwise for so long, may, in a flash, think: "it's 1973!" and the concerted efforts to inflate assets ("massive positions in private equity, credit, etc.") will come undone when the real costs of living are hot news.

It is impossible to hedge an entire market. The Smart Investor surmises Big Money is preparing and is buying the least bad alternative (for a company managing $100 billion). They are borrowing at miniscule interest rates, as much as possible, at a FIXED RATE, and buying long-term assets that may get squashed in the short- to middle-term. The squashing is a worst case, not assured, but one the investor should consider. When interest rates rise ("they have made the bet that economic theory has not changed that much in 500 years"), the value of assets, which are priced now for no interest costs, could - surprise a lot of people.

The May 15, 2013,Wall Street Journal published a laundry list under the title: "Private Equity Firms Build Instead of Buy." The heart of such an approach was expressed by David Foley, head of energy investing at Blackstone Group LP: "We always look at our returns as buy and hold forever, because you might."

Blackstone, teaming up with the Aga Khan Development network, built a new dam at the headwaters of the White Nile. The dam produces almost half of Uganda's electricity which Blackstone sells "at rates that ensure profits for Blackstone for years to come."

David Foley may have frowned when reading "ensured," since there are untold contingencies that could disrupt a steady flow of profits. Speculating a bit here, a pension fund may invest in Blackstone's project and be permitted to log an 8% (for example) return-on-investment each-and-every year, for the next 30 years, or, until the dam is sold. Should evil spirits temporarily halt the flow of electricity ("rituals had to be performed to appease spirits.... A feud between two diviners who laid competing claims to remove the spirits went on for two years"), the fund may still be permitted to log an 8% return, given the long-term objective.

The Wall Street Journal story discusses other such projects: "Blackstone is pursuing similar dam projects elsewhere in Uganda, in Tanzania and along Rwanda's border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Using its power-plant builder Sithe, the firm has plants under construction in India and the Philippines.... Apollo [Global Management], for its part, is managing the investment of money that small savers put into fixed annuities promising them a steady rate of return.... KKR is developing a tract of houses and apartments in Williston, N.D., for the oil workers pouring into that region.... [KKR] has teamed up with Chesapeake Energy Corp. to drill for oil for years to come."

A similar strategy was described in the May 17, 2013, issue of Grant's Interest Rate Observer. NovaGold (NG) is "nature's own hyper-leveraged option on a much higher gold value expressed in terms of Federal Reserve notes...." In one estimation: "Only a value on the order of $2,000 an ounce would justify the projected outlays..." Tom Kaplan, through his Electrum Group LC, and owner of 86 million NovaGold shares, has done well buying resource companies that do not meet the criteria of the standard institutional investor: "[I]f you're trying to make 100 times on your money, whether or not you're right in 24 months or 60 months, it doesn't matter."

By Frederick Sheehan

See his blog at www.aucontrarian.com

Frederick Sheehan is the author of Panderer to Power: The Untold Story of How Alan Greenspan Enriched Wall Street and Left a Legacy of Recession (McGraw-Hill, November 2009).

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Frederick Sheehan Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules