NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group (BX.N), the world’s largest alternative asset manager, is considering adjusting its investment strategy in the wake of last week’s deadly attacks in Paris.
Blackstone’s vice chairman, J. Tomilson Hill, is worried that investor sentiment could sour after suicide bombings and shootings killed 129 people in the French capital.
“The biggest issue is confidence,“ Hill said Monday at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in New York. ”Right now, there is a higher probability ... that there will be another terrorist attack somewhere in the Western world than before Friday. You factor that into your thinking.”
Hill, head of Blackstone’s $68 billion hedge fund investment unit, said the firm has yet to change its risk models, but said, “We’re thinking about it.” He said that review - including speaking with hedge fund managers, large clients and internal forecasters - typically takes at least a month.
Consumer confidence is fragile and if there are more attacks, Hill said a more fearful population could travel or shop less, hurting economic growth.
“I guarantee you, people are not going to Louis Vuitton today in Paris to buy things,” Hill said during the session in Reuters’ Manhattan offices.
Following the attacks, he said that Blackstone, which manages $334 billion in private equity, real estate, hedge fund and other strategies, immediately checked with employees and clients in the region to confirm that they were all safe. Hill is flying to London Monday night as planned for a firm investor conference, despite the prospect of canceling having “crossed my wife’s mind.”
Hill noted that consumer confidence is just one of around 20 different scenarios that Blackstone uses to understand portfolio risk and declining consumer sentiment could be countered by monetary policy.
Still, Hill said that since the attacks he has spoken with investors in France, where there is a “sense of helplessness and when is the next shoe going to drop. I don’t think we’ve yet seen how that plays out.”
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Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Leslie Adler