With more than four decades of experience on Wall Street, Steve Schwarzman has seen it all.
The billionaire founder of Blackstone Group, who now also advises President Donald Trump, has built his company from a tiny advisory service in 1985 into an industry leader, with $US368 billion in assets under management in 2017.
Schwarzman, 70, has navigated the firm through multiple recessions and economic calamities that ended many other careers in finance.
One of Schwarzman’s keys to a lengthy — and prosperous — stay on Wall Street? Respecting and mastering risk and not becoming overconfident.
Banking has a reputation for breeding gladiators. But in an interview with Jason Kelly of Bloomberg, Schwarzman said the “brave” are the personality types that tend to wash out early in finance (emphasis ours):
“So part of what benefited us was that we’re risk-averse. I have a saying: There are no brave old people in finance. Because if you’re brave, you mostly get destroyed in your 30s and 40s. If you make it to your 50s and 60s and you’re still prospering, you have a very good sense of how to avoid problems and when to be conservative or aggressive with your investments.”
Controlling risk was crucial to Blackstone’s growth and longevity, and the buck stopped with Schwarzman. Lose control of risk and ink a few stray deals, he warned, and “all of a sudden you’ve blown up your business.”
“I was committed that that wouldn’t happen,” Schwarzman told Bloomberg.
Schwarzman’s full interview with Kelly is worth a read. Check it out at Bloomberg Markets.
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