In June 2008, American International Group Inc. was desperately trying to figure out what to do with its $80 billion in money-losing credit-default swaps, which were backed by mortgages. Then Larry Fink came calling.
There’s been a flurry of articles about the dangers of exchange-traded funds. BlackRock Inc.'s Larry Fink said leveraged ETFs could “blow up” the industry, even though they have microscopic assets and own less than 0.02 percent of the derivatives market. There’s also been chatter about potential problems with ETFs that track illiquid assets, such as senior loans, if there's a run for the exits. A recent Ventured & Gained post looked at exchange-traded notes (ETNs) and some risks they pose.
Bill Gross and Larry Fink manage a $3 trillion pile of bonds -- an amount almost as big as Germany’s economy. Their firms, Pacific Investment Management Co. and BlackRock Inc., doubled holdings since 2008, outpacing the market’s growth of 50 percent.