BlackRock Inc. (BLK:US)’s Laurence D. Fink, who heads the world’s largest asset manager, said U.S. lawmakers need to provide more certainty about spending and tax policy as European leaders grapple with deficits.
“Our politicians are guardians too, and they’re not acting in ways that guardians should,” Fink said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” with Erik Schatzker and Trish Regan. “Europe is a great wake-up call and they’re still snoring away.”
The U.S. is facing a so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year when automatic spending cuts would begin and tax cuts will expire without action by a U.S. Congress that has been mired in political disputes. Fink said employers including defense contractors will be discouraged from investing in their operations until lawmakers signal how they’ll proceed.
“We need more clarity, and that is my message to every politician I see,” said Fink, the chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based BlackRock. “It’s all about confidence. No one is investing for tomorrow.”
Unemployment in the euro-area reached the highest level on record amid a deepening economic slump, data yesterday showed. Joblessness in the 17-nation union rose to 11.1 percent in May after companies cut costs as the worsening fiscal crisis eroded exports and consumer spending. Economies from Spain to Greece to Portugal are expected to shrink this year and next, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Resolving the European crisis could take as long as eight years, Fink said. Investors can’t afford to be in bonds that yield as little as 1 percent during that time as policy makers keep rates low to stimulate the economy, he said. He has advocated stocks and, for investors with a time horizon of at least 10 years, alternative holdings such as infrastructure bets.
“In the United States, our recovery will not fully get into its roll until 2014,” Fink said. “We are still going to be looking better than Europe.”
Fink, 59, joins JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US)’s Jamie Dimon and Mohamed El-Erian of Pacific Investment Management Co. in urging U.S. lawmakers to avoid a shock to the economy.
“We would like our politicians to get their act together quicker,” El-Erian, the CEO of Pimco, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu yesterday.
The Supreme Court ruling upholding President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul will ensure more Americans have coverage, though it doesn’t address how to control rising costs, Fink said. The decisions for health-care procedures need to be made by individuals, not insurance providers, so people understand the costs, he said.
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