Sunday, May 5, 2013

Notes from Milken Institute - Global Conference 2013

Last week, the Milken Institute’s annual conference in Beverly Hills, CA provided discussions on topics including “Inventing the Impossible” and “Bioscience Discoveries That Will Blow Your Mind” and interviews with global players such as Tony Blair, Al Gore and Carlos Slim

The following notes highlight themes from three sessions.

On Commercial Real Estate Investing: Panelists thought that the U.S. is less risky that other regions.
  • Barry Sternlicht, Starwood Capital Group - is concerned about some financial firms and said “the same guys that drove the bus off the cliff are driving the bus again; the banks are issuing as fast as they can and selling it off faster.”
  • William McMorrow, Kennedy Wilson - likes Ireland and the U.K..
  • Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments – likes Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
On Private Equity Investing:
  • Leon Black , Apollo Global Management – this is a “fabulous environment to be selling into” and “we are selling everything that’s not nailed down in our portfolio, and what is nailed down, we are refinancing. There are selective deals to focus on… but we are most focused on strategic sales”.
  • David Bonderman, TPG Capital - “Europe is not going to fall into the sea”, Indonesia seems pricey, China seems oversold, the U.S. is safety but worrisome, emerging markets are reemerging and Japan is problematic.
  • Jonathan Nelson, Providence Equity Partners - “there is a disconnect between public equity valuations and what we see and what we worry about”.
  • Jonathan Sokoloff, Leonard Green & Partners - “there is a complete disconnect between the performance on Main Street and performance on Wall Street.”
  • Scott Sperling, Thomas H. Lee Partners - “you have to spend more time, and work more intensively, to put together transactions.”
On “Global Markets in Uncertain Times”:
  • Madelyn Antoncic, VP/Treasurer - World Bank - the U.S. Federal Reserve has to be careful about how it exits its stimulus efforts.
  • Willem Buiter, Chief Economist – Citigroup -  central banks can comfortably live with any size balance sheet without any inflation risk.
  • Terry Duffy, CEO - CME Group -  central banks don not understand their exit strategy from stimulus efforts.
  • Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO - “investing fundamentally is like being a surfer in a surfer competition, You’re waiting for the right wave but you cannot wait forever”.
  • Ken Griffin, Citadel - “central bank policies are allowing our politicians to delay the difficult decisions.”

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