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Apollo CEO says inflation is everywhere in company’s portfolio

Apollo CEO says inflation is everywhere in company’s portfolio

13 Sep 2021

Marc Rowan, co-founder and senior managing director of Apollo Global Management LLC, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The high inflation readings for the U.S. economy are showing up in every facet of business for investing giant Apollo, CEO Marc Rowan said Monday.

“Everywhere. There’s not a place [where we are not seeing it]. Everything that we once did now costs more,” Rowan told CNBC’s Leslie Picker as part of “Delivering Alpha.” “Lead times, pressure on inventory, pressure on supplies, pressure on employment. Our experience in our portfolio is really no different than the broader economy.”

Rowan said it “remains to be seen” if inflation proves to be transitory — that is, temporary — as Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly said. Still, Rowan believes that the price increases will ease as the recent spending boom decreases and U.S. natural low-inflation pressures, such as slow population growth, reassert themselves.

Rising prices have been the subject of a key debate in economics and investing circles since the U.S. economy began to reopen from pandemic restrictions earlier this year and consumer spending rebounded sharply. Originally, high inflation readings were caused in large part by dramatic increases for a few items, including used cars, and abnormally cheap prices in the 2020 data that were being used as the main point of comparison.

However, inflation readings have stayed well above the Fed’s 2% average target, leading to some concern among economists and investors that the cost increases will not fade away. The median one-year ahead inflation expectation for consumers in August was 5.2%, according to a report from the New York Fed released on Monday.

Apollo is one of the biggest players in the alternative investing industry, with assets under management of $472 billion as of June 30. The company’s recent major deals include buying Yahoo and AOL from Verizon for $5 billion. Shares of Apollo are up about 25% year to date.

Rowan said that he wasn’t sure if Apollo could find a way to control inflation in its portfolio but that it his company’s job to thrive in any environment. He also said that markets appeared to be “priced for perfection” and at risk of a pullback but that there are still places for investors to find value.

Rowan, who became CEO in March after co-founder Leon Black stepped aside amid uproar about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, also told Picker that he didn’t see the company’s private equity arm growing significantly in size in the years ahead, with credit instead being a major area of growth.

CNBC’s full Delivering Alpha conference will take place virtually on Sept. 29, with speakers including Brad Gerstner from Altimeter Capital and Chamath Palihapitiya from Social Capital. Interested investors can register for the event here.

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