Key Takeaways from Day 3: Bloomberg Invest Global

Day Three of Bloomberg Invest Global, Bloomberg’s flagship virtual financial conference, began in Hong Kong with Bloomberg Executive Editor Tracy Alloway interviewing famed short seller Carson Block, Chief Investment Officer of Muddy Waters Capital LLC, about the Wirecard scandal, what markets he’s looking at besides China, and how he gets his “tips.” He also renewed his short-selling attack on Chinese after-school tutoring platform GSX Techedu Inc.

Block was followed by Henry Fernandez, Chairman and CEO of MSCI, on the rise in ESG investing and how social norms and the pursuit of equality will influence ESG investing going forward. He also said political tensions in Hong Kong aren’t affecting MSCI.

Our Asia track wrapped up with an interview with Jessica Tan, Group Co-CEO of China-based Ping An Insurance Group, about the key role technology has played in advancing healthcare systems in cities and individual diagnoses for patients.

In Dubai, Bloomberg TV anchor Manus Cranny spoke with Yves Perrier, CEO of Amundi, on a number of topics including when Amundi staff will return to their offices. Some will continue to work from home at least part of the week but Perrier also said Amundi would work to make offices “more convenient, more friendly and with more room for people.”

The European track’s final day began with an interview with Luke Ellis, CEO of London-based Man Group. A stock market surge fueled by day traders has been tough even for the world’s largest publicly listed hedge fund firm, which is learning how to make money out of the “new player” in the trading world. “It’s hard to play poker with someone you haven’t seen before,” Ellis said.

Next, Jason Kelly, Co-Anchor of Bloomberg Businessweek on Bloomberg TV and Radio, spoke with Bruce Flatt, CEO of Brookfield Asset Management, one of the world’s biggest real estate investors. Contrary to the expectations of many, Brookfield is seeing higher demand for office space as workers return to socially-distanced buildings.

Rather than ditching their skyscraper offices after the pandemic, Flatt said, companies are keen to return to the workplace after spending as long as three months in lockdown. “Today we’re leasing greater amounts of space to people than they had before,” Flatt said. “They want to accommodate their people and get them back quickly.”

After London, it was on to New York for a final afternoon of conversations with leading financial executives. Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait spoke with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO David Solomon, who said the recent stock market rebound doesn’t jibe with the earnings outlook of many companies.

“The equity market does seem to be a little bit ahead of my view of the future earnings performance of businesses,” he said. “If I’m right about that, you’ll see a rebalancing of that over time.”

Solomon also said Goldman’s job cuts would resume next year.

Bob Prince, Co-Chief Investment Officer at Bridgewater Associates, echoed Solomon, saying “there’s a huge amount of uncertainty.” He said Bridgewater expects the impact of the pandemic to last 18 to 24 months, complicating monetary and fiscal policy efforts to bolster the economy.

Citigroup Inc. President Jane Fraser, who leaders the firm’s global consumer unit, said she is worried about signs the bank is seeing in consumer behavior in Asia as she thinks about what a potential recovery could look like in the U.S. Fraser leads the bank’s response to the pandemic in North America.

As for the future of the asset management business, Shundrawn Thomas, president of Northern Trust Asset Management, said he expects to see further consolidation through M&A activity, with the biggest companies taking ever-greater shares of the market.

“Much of the consolidation I actually expect to see is happening organically,” he said. “The proverbial winners have gotten larger.”

View our highlights recap from Day Three below and click here to view all event content on demand.

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