Ex-Prudential Securities CEO: Bitcoin ‘Attractive Part of Almost Any Portfolio’
In an interview today with Yahoo Finance, Wall Street veteran George Ball, the former CEO of Prudential-Bache Securities, suggested cryptocurrencies are a good addition to nearly any investment portfolio.
“The investing public right now is worried—and the professional investors are worried—that the Fed is behind the curve,” Ball said. “That the amount of stimulus envisioned is perhaps greater than that which would be helpful over the next year or two to the economy.”
While he envisions an “extremely vigorous rebound” for late 2021, that bit of good news creates a dilemma for investors: How do you hedge in a market where bond yields are rising, tech stocks might be due for a correction, and the US central bank is trying to increase inflation?
His answer: cash and Bitcoin.
“The best hedge against an at-risk market is cash,” Ball shared. “Cash lets you sleep securely at night and take greater risks with the investments you do make. With the cryptocurrencies, I think there is a fundamental hydra-headed shift that makes them attractive as a part—small part—of almost any portfolio.”
Those reasons include a hedge against inflation, if it is indeed coming back in a big way, but also to take advantage of increasing demand by retail investors. As small investors jump from speculating on stock to speculating on cryptocurrencies, they may end up driving the price of certain crypto assets further.
There’s a growing acceptance among many financial advisors that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin should be part of investors’ portfolios, though not necessarily a big part. Shark Tank co-host Kevin O’Leary, for instance, recently revealed that Bitcoin would represent 3% of his portfolio despite having called the coin “garbage” two years earlier.
And while cloud computing company MicroStrategy has invested several billion dollars into Bitcoin, a small allocation also works for corporations. Meltem Demirors, Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares, told Decrypt in February, “Our research suggests 4% is an optimal bitcoin allocation to start.”
Ball is currently CEO of Sanders Morris Harris, a private equity and wealth management firm. He resigned from Prudential-Bache, part of Prudential Financial, in 1991 amid claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the firm had defrauded investors. Prudential paid $2 billion in penalties and restitution, though Ball himself was never charged.
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