Blackstone 3Q16 Earnings Call Notes

The Blackstone Group LP (BX) Q3 2016 Results
Stephen A. Schwarzman

Real estate remains an attractive asset class

“Real Estate remains an attractive asset class globally, although there is less distress today. We expect fundamentals to remain solid for the foreseeable future. In most markets, supply remains constrained. Demand for high-quality real estate is strong. Debt levels are not excessive and bank competition is diminished.”

Continue to invest capital at discounts to replacement cost

“We’ve been expecting interest rates to increase for some time and have baked that into our underwriting assumptions for new deals. Historically, when rates have increased, it’s generally been reflective of greater economic activity which in that scenario is good for our business. Against this backdrop, we continue to invest large-scale capital at discounts to physical replacement cost.”

Michael S. Chae – The Blackstone Group LP

There are some big winners in the hedge fund space

I guess, I’ll take that one. There’s a lot of activity in hedge funds and – but it’s not so much like the whole industry is under duress despite what you might read is, there are some big winners. There’re some sectors losing but there’re some big winners too. And what you’re really seeing is you’re seeing assets flowing from the sectors that have struggled to or distinguish themselves on returns to the sectors that are actually doing quite well. And I think your pricing power is kind of a function of where you are in that equation.”

Hamilton James

Drop in base rates was never fully passed on through cap rates

As rates rise, obviously, cap rates will sneak up but the drop in rates was not fully passed through on cap rates. In other words, a spread over base rates came up. So as rates rise, some of that will be absorbed we think by a return to more normal spreads. And we are not really in the business of betting on cap rates staying where they are. Usually, we buy something and we expect on exit cap rates to be higher anyway. That’s what we underwrite to. So that’s our premise and we think that as long as the environment stays healthy, it doesn’t have to be hot by any means. It just has to stay healthy the way it is today then rising rates are what we are expecting and we’re going to get our return

Working on applications of tech to drive new products

“we’re working on some interesting applications of technology to drive new products, and I think those would be some interesting products there which will probably be lower fee products per dollar of AUM, but quite profitable because of the cost structures, and could be very, very large in terms of AUM.”