Jeff Gundlach Warns Massive Asset Managers Like PIMCO And BlackRock Are Greater TBTF Risk Than Citi
In this brief interview with Morningstar, Doubleline's star MBS analyst, and the bane of TCW's existence, Jeff Gundlach, points out the glaringly obvious: i.e., that "if Citigroup was too big to fail, then so much greater is the risk for asset managers at a multiple of that market cap." Obviously the mortgage expert here is contemplating asset manager behemoths such as PIMCO and BlackRock, which have quietly become even more institutionalized within the fabric of the financial markets, than some of the TBTF banks. And without access to the Fed's discount window, liquidity threats to firms like PIMCO are exponentially greater than even for a bankrupt POS like Citigroup. No wonder Gross was offloading European sovereign debt with gusto as of last check. With total assets of over $1 trillion, saying that a failure by PIMCO, and by extension its Fed-unmoderatable counterparty risk, would have huge implications on the US financial system, is so obvious, that it is completely understandable that there is not one single provision in the Senator from Countrywide and the Congressman from Fannie's FinReg proposals on how to tackle this most recent threat to capital markets.
From the Gundlach interview:
Jason Stipp: You had mentioned in a recent interview about the government and the whole notion of the "too big to fail" and you said that that should really be extended to asset managers. I am wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on what you see as a risk of asset managers that may be too big to fail and can you confirm if you were talking about PIMCO with that comment?
Jeffrey Gundlach: Well, I'm not talking about any one firm in particular, I am just saying that any investment management firm that is controlling many hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars and is using a lot of counter party risk for synthetic transactions is introducing a lot of systemic risk into the system. Remember when we had all those problems in September '08 and the government had to come to the rescue of Citibank, Citibank has a market cap of something like $300 billion, and that was enough capital at risk to be deemed too big to fail.
If there is an asset manager with $600 billion or $1.2 trillion or $3 trillion of investors' money and a lot of that is with counterparty risk and synthetic transactions because assets managers of that size are almost required to operate in these shadow markets, then there is a greater risk to investor capital in those asset managers' counterparty risk and synthetic transactions than Citigroup represented, so if Citigroup was too big to fail, then so much greater is the risk for asset managers at a multiple of that market cap.