Howard Marks, The Optimistic Bear

Peter Lattman has the latest memo from Howard Marks, and it’s not pretty. If you want the most bearish soundbite, this is it:

We’ve had collapses in the past, but never so broad-gauged and systemic.

Marks foresees some drastic measures on the regulatory front:

A holiday from capital

requirements would allow regulated financial institutions to take writeoffs and clear their

balance sheets without having to worry about falling below minimums. They might even

try suspending mark-to-market accounting.

All the same, he’s convinced that we’ll get though this somehow.

The things

one would do to gird for the demise of the financial system will turn out to be huge

mistakes if the outcome is anything else . . . and chances are high that it will be.

Which means that, sooner or later, things are going to stop getting worse and start getting better:

One of these days, the herd will give up on there

being a solution. And unless the financial world really does end, we’re likely to

encounter the investment opportunities of a lifetime.

Howard Marks has demonstrated that he’s good at calling those inflection points. But unless you’re Howard Marks, you might not want to try this at home.

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