Updated May 10, 2023 - Economy & Business

TPG's Winkelried says he's scared of debt default, not AI

Jon Winkelried, TPG CEO, and Axios' Dan Primack at the BFD Event in San Francisco. Photo: Michael Flaherty

The prospect of a U.S. debt default is scarier now than it's ever been, said TPG chief Jon Winkelried, speaking at the Axios BFD event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

What Winkelried's not scared of: Artificial intelligence displacing the jobs of financial sector analysts and associates.

What he's saying: "Yes, it scares me in a way," he said, adding that when the prospect of a default occurred in previous cycles, the assumption was that Washington wouldn't actually let it happen.

  • "The political process has gotten more heated, less rational. I worry that maybe there is more of a willingness to go to the brink. I’m a little more concerned than last time."
  • "AI may be a tool that helps... but there's still a lot of creative, intellectual energy around these issues. I have no doubt there will be analysts and associates at banks" even as AI adoption grows, he said.

Background: TPG, which started out as the leveraged buyout firm Texas Pacific Group in 1992, is now a publicly traded alternative asset manager with $135 billion in assets under management.

  • The company went public in January 2022; a day later the market tanked — and then kept tanking.
  • "If we were going to go public the next day, we probably would not have gone public," he said. "We felt quite fortunate that we came in under the wire."

Of note: Winkelried, a former top Goldman Sachs banker, said TPG is eager to get into the private credit market. Whether the firm would grow the business organically or acquire a private credit business, Winkelried would not say.

  • "There's different ways of doing it — we’re open minded either way. We’re focused on it."

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