Tags: wilbur | ross | bank | assets

Ross: Small Investors Can Win Buying Bank Assets

Monday, 04 May 2009 11:08 AM

By Dan Weil

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Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross voices strong support for the Treasury’s plan to buy up the banks’ bad assets. And, he says, small investors will win in this scenario.

Ross’s firm, W.L. Ross & Co., is a participant in the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP).

The biggest plus of the program, he tells the Financial Times, is “the non-recourse, low interest rate, high leverage that the government is making available for the buyers of the program.”

Ross isn’t worried about the government attaching strings to firms that participate like it did with banks it bailed out. This situation is much different from the bank bailouts, he notes.

“Here we’re doing the government a favor, helping them get uniquely high bid prices for assets that they want to get off the books of the banks,” Ross says.

“I think that’s a very different circumstance.”

Also, the government will take a majority of profits from the PPIP venture, Ross explains.

And the winners won’t just be fat cats, he says.

“Who really will make the money are our investors.” That includes state and private employees through their pension funds and state and private universities, he says.

In addition, Ross will try to make the program available to retail investors. “That’s one of the things Treasury encouraged,” he says.

Not everyone is as enthusiastic as Ross.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told bank analysts recently, “We have no intent on using PPIP at all. … We have our own assets. If we want to sell them, we'll sell them. If we want to buy them, we'll buy them."

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