Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones issues a call for more responsible investing, saying that the craze over stock buybacks is causing troubling social ills.
“I think we’ve got a mania going on in buybacks and a mania going on terms of shareholder primacy,” Tudor Jones told CNBC’s Bob Pisani on the sidelines of the Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Florida. He added that the focus solely on shareholder profits has helped cause major wealth disparity and is a departure from the way corporate boards used to behave.
“Things had been different and can be different again, and if they’re not I’m really nervous about what the ultimate social consequences are in this country.”
U.S. companies bought back more than $1 trillion of their own shares in 2018, helping to keep afloat a market that turned in an otherwise lackluster performance as the S&P 500 was off more than 6 percent for the year. However, the propensity of companies to use the trillions in cash they are holding has caused controversy and calls for legislators to limit the practice.
Specifically, Sens. Charles Schumer and Bernie Sanders recently proposed requiring companies to meet certain requirements before being allowed to do repurchases. Among the requirements would be minimum employee pay of $15 an hour along with paid time off and health benefits.
Tudor Jones said he wasn’t sure if wanted to go that far.
Tudor Jones is noted for making broad market calls and predicted the 1987 stock market crash. More recently, he warned at an investor forum in November of a “global debt bubble” that would be “very challenging.”
In June, he told CNBC that the stock market could got “a lot higher at the end of the year,” but the exact opposite happened. Stocks fell into a near-bear market to end the year as investors recoiled on fears that the Federal Reserve was going to make a policy mistake and raise rates too aggressively.
This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.