Blackstone’s Schwarzman Sees Business Benefiting Under Trump

  • Carlyle’s Youngkin encouraged by pro-business policy outlook
  • Schwarzman called election a mystery, didn’t comment on vote

Blackstone Group LP’s Steve Schwarzman said the business community will prosper under Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Things are going to change, and I think things are going to change a lot,” Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chief executive officer, said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council on Tuesday in Washington, about a mile from the White House. The billionaire didn’t mention President-elect Trump by name.

Schwarzman, 69, is one of the first private equity executives to speak publicly about his outlook after votes were tallied on Nov. 8, saying he’s “excited” about the prospects for economic growth in the U.S. and expects the business community to look “infinitely better” in the next few years. The traditionally Republican donor has criticized the build-up in government regulation under President Barack Obama, saying stricter guidelines have suppressed access to credit for businesses and hampered productivity.

Going forward, the business community will become “front and center,” Schwarzman said, speaking at the event alongside Honeywell International Inc. CEO David Cote.

Carlyle Group LP President Glenn Youngkin echoed that sentiment Wednesday, saying he’s uncertain but optimistic about business prospects under Trump.

“This is the first time in a long time that we have a uniformly pro-business policy outlook, and we think that’s really positive,” Youngkin said at a Bank of America Corp. conference in New York. While fear of an economic downturn has likely damped the valuations of private equity firms over the past year, a more pro-business sentiment may revive investor confidence, he said.

Industry Implications

As with other industries, the fate of private equity firms under a Trump administration remains uncertain. The tax treatment of carried interest and corporations, as well as deregulation in financial services, could have positive or negative implications, Youngkin said. Government spending in industries such as health care, infrastructure and defense will also have an effect, he said.

Schwarzman, who has a net worth of about $9.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, also called income inequality in the U.S. a serious problem. Middle-class and lower-income Americans haven’t had an economic environment suitable for income growth since at least 2000, he said.

“You have to address this with a positive approach in policies to create economic expansion,” Schwarzman said at the event Tuesday.

Blackstone manages $361 billion in private equity holdings, real estate, credit assets and hedge funds. Schwarzman, who grew up in Philadelphia as the son of a dry-goods store owner, started the New York-based firm in 1985 with Peter G. Peterson, who served as U.S. Commerce secretary from 1972 to 1973.

Schwarzman hasn’t publicly said which presidential candidate won his vote. In September he called the campaigns a “mystery” and said he hoped his choice would become clearer as election day approached.

Youngkin, 49, helped raise money for Republican candidate Jeb Bush last year.

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