ECONOMY

Here’s what the smartest people on Wall Street are saying about Greece

With all the drama in the eurozone, there’s been no shortage of Greece-related questions for Wall Street’s luminaries.

Below is a round-up of what the big investors and banking luminaries have been saying. The takeaway; Wall Street seems pretty sanguine when it comes to Greece — perhaps surprisingly so. 

Here’s Warren Buffett, billionaire investor, speaking in March:

If it turns out the Greeks leave, that may not be a bad thing for the euro… If everybody learns that the rules mean something and if they come to general agreement about fiscal policy among members, or something of the sort, that they mean business, that could be a good thing. (Interview with CNBC)

Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, spoke with a Dutch newspaper last month and said:  

A Greek departure from the euro is far less disastrous than making concessions that can also be claimed in other countries. (Interview with Het Financieele Dagblad)

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, wrote in his letter to shareholders in April that:

We must be prepared for a potential exit…We continually stress test our company for possible repercussions resulting from such an event… After the initial turmoil, it is possible that a Greek exit would prompt greater structural reform efforts by countries that remain (Letter to shareholders). 

Axel Weber, chairman of the Swiss bank UBS, said in April that: 

I’ve just come from a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. There, the consensus is increasingly that a Greek default would be systemically controllable. (Interview with Neue Zuercher Zeitung)

Charles Munger, vice chairman at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said in May that: 

[The] euro had a noble motivation and has done some good, but has created strains by connecting countries that shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t create a partnership with your drunken, shiftless brother in law. (Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting)

Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller told Bloomberg TV in April that:

The banks don’t own Greek debt anymore, Draghi has QE at his disposal. My guess is there won’t be contagion, but even if there is he can contain it and as soon as market participants see that, you won’t get contagion (Bloomberg TV).

And according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey released yesterday, many investors are not anticipating a negative outcome in the eurozone.

Some 43 percent of respondents said they expect a “positive” resolution. About 42 percent said Greece will default but is unlikely to exit the monetary unit and only 15 percent said they expected a so-called “Grexit.” [Bloomberg]