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Paul Singer warns system may be more leveraged than 2008

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-06-2017 Beth Jinks

San Francisco/New York: Billionaire investor Paul Singer said “distorted” monetary and regulatory policies have increased risks for investors almost a decade after the financial crisis.

“I am very concerned about where we are,” Singer said Wednesday at the Bloomberg Invest New York summit. “What we have today is a global financial system that’s just about as leveraged—and in many cases more leveraged—than before 2008, and I don’t think the financial system is more sound.”

Years of low rates have eroded the effectiveness of central banks to contend with downturns, Singer said at the event in an interview with Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein. “Suppressive” fiscal, regulatory and tax policies have also exacerbated income inequality and led to the rise of populist and fringe political movements, he added.

Confidence “could be lost in a very abrupt fashion causing conceivably a ruckus in bond markets, stock markets and in financial institutions,” said Singer, founder of hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., which is known for being an activist investor.

Singer, who has described himself as a political conservative since Barry Goldwater’s campaign, said he voted for Donald Trump after supporting Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential primary campaign.

Trump optimism

“I became optimistic about some of the opportunities in economic growth and regulatory reform, tax reform,” he said. Since Trump took office he visited the White House once and “we chatted a bit about taxes and economic policy,” he said.

Singer’s fund, which manages about $34 billion, is probably best known for a battle with Argentina’s government over that nation’s 2001 bond default. Elliott is pushing for changes at South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics Co. and at the world’s biggest mining company BHP Billiton Ltd., among other campaigns.

The New York-based hedge fund, founded by Singer in 1977 and carrying his middle name, invests globally. Elliott invests across strategies including long-short hedge funds, distressed credit, arbitrage, real estate, shareholder activism and private equity. Bloomberg

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