“As in every cycle, there will be some spectacular blow ups and some of the candidates are becoming evident. Asset classes that collapse are generally the ones which are subject to the most leverage as this leads to forced selling once the direction turns down,” he said.
In an investment note published today (20 June), Jane argued that an obvious candidate is the private equity arena, which he sees as an area of “obvious malinvestment” beginning to unravel due to huge valuations on businesses with little revenue, let alone profit.
“This is a feature of most recent market cycles but has been at least as extreme in the current one as the tech bubble in 2000,” he said.
The biggest issue surrounding private equity valuations, according to Jane, is asset managers valuing their own assets — or as he described it, “marking their own homework”.
“This becomes a problem when losses in the public equity portion of open ended funds cause investors to want to get their money out leading to the necessity that the private holdings must be sold,” he explained.
“Again, the knock-on effect on the wider market is the same, driving down the prices of what can be sold as well as what should be sold.”
Will booming private markets lead to success for private equity trusts?
Jane also sees crypto as another area for a potential blow up. Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, has lost about 70% of its value since hitting a peak of roughly $69,000 in November.
“Originally billed as a non-government controlled means of exchange, the antidote to QE if you like, crypto eventually became the opposite. […] Crypto now has also become largely an exchange traded market with assets held in custody; this and the existence of stable coins has made crypto essentially ‘fiat’ (trust based),” he said.
“If, as seems probable, several crypto exchanges and many stable coins turn out to be no more than Ponzi schemes, a huge amount of the wealth will evaporate overnight.”
Just like when the housing market blew up in the US, he noted that this will have knock on effects not just on other asset classes, but also the real economy.
“The apparent value in crypto has been leveraged to invest in other areas and the wealth effect from this bubble will have partly driven consumption,” he added.