BlackRock’s Koesterich Says Buy Volatility During Market Calm

Jul 25, 2014 10:06 am ET

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Investors should seek to profit from a rise in volatility as central banks prepare to tighten monetary policy, according to BlackRock’s Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich.

“The main reason volatility is this low is that monetary conditions are easy,” Koesterich said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. When investors start to weigh U.S. and U.K. central banks starting to tighten “we are going to see a long-awaited rise,” he said.

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager with $4.59 trillion in assets, recommended investors protect themselves from more volatility in June as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index hovered near its record low. The measure has risen less than 5 percent in July to about 12.1, even amid rising geopolitical tensions. The average is about 20 over the past decade.

“We are not suggesting we are going back into a world like 2008 when theh VIX was at 90,” Koesterich said. Even going to more normal levels of the long-term average would be a significant jump, he said.

New York-based BlackRock’s view contrasts with that of Pacific Investment Management Co., which forecasts an era it calls the “new neutral” characterized by low interest rates and lower, more stable global growth.