'He's talking his own book': Zechner on Eisman's bet against Canada's banks
A veteran Canadian hedge fund manager didn't hear anything from Steve Eisman that convinced him the short bet against Canada's banks will pay off.
"In my view what he misses a little bit, and this is from [my] 40 years watching these banks, I think these banks are a lot stronger than they were in the 80s and the 90s," said John Zechner, chairman and founder of J. Zechner Associates, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. "Their loan books are stronger, they're more diversified; plus, they have growth from the wealth management side of the business to offset."
Eisman, a portfolio manager at New York-based Neuberger Berman who rose to mainstream fame after his short call on U.S. housing received Hollywood treatment in The Big Short, doubled down on his bearish outlook for CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada and Laurentian Bank of Canada in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Monday. He pointed to what he called "exceptionally poor" earnings quality in the fiscal second quarter that just wrapped up.
While Zechner concurred with Eisman's view that Canadian banks manage their earnings, he said the sector's strength is overlooked "when people look across the border here."
"From the point of view of a hedge fund manager, I get it. He doubles down, we all double down occasionally on a bet, and he's talking his own book a little bit, because he's already short," said Zechner, who said he hasn't had any long positions in Canadian banks over the last year.
"But it's an expensive short. You've got to sit there and cover a four or five per cent yield on these things. And so you better be right in a big way."