Blackstone Group LP has bigger plans for insurance companies than just managing their money. The world’s largest private equity firm is expanding into a lucrative business dominated by BlackRock Inc.: portfolio risk analytics.
Bennett Goodman, co-founder of Blackstone’s GSO credit unit and chairman of its new insurance-solutions business, described the plan in a Bloomberg Television interview with Erik Schatzker airing Friday.
“How can we help these insurance companies monitor what they own, stress test what they own, plug in different macroeconomic variables, see what that does to the portfolio,” Goodman said. “One of the things in the laboratory under the R&D category is to try to sort out how we can do that,” he said, referring to a “world-class risk-analytics capability.”
Money managers are jumping into data analytics as a way to both harness their own information and offer institutional investors allocation advice. While BlackRock has dominated risk analytics for publicly traded securities through its Aladdin platform, Blackstone’s foray will be a key test case in how to channel data from the traditionally opaque world of alternative assets.
Insurance is a logical place to start. Years of low yields in the fixed-income market have insurers looking for higher returns to match their policyholder obligations. With more than $20 trillion of insurance assets potentially up for grabs, alternative asset managers such as Blackstone and Apollo Global Management LLC are eagerly structuring longer duration, yield-oriented products that meet insurers’ demand.