The Mooch’s Warm-Up Act for SALT

With the White House behind him, Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital Summit in New York on Monday helped the founder get back into the world of hedge funds — and conferences.

Anthony Scaramucci (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)

Anthony Scaramucci

(Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)

Anthony Scaramucci is getting ready for Vegas.

At the Skybridge Capital Summit at the Pierre Hotel in New York on Monday, Scaramucci opened up the event by calling it a “warm-up for the SALT conference,” which is scheduled to return to Las Vegas in May.

The SkyBridge Alternatives, or SALT, conference was cancelled this year as the Mooch regained his footing at his firm, following his 2017 firing by President Donald Trump as White House communications director.

Scaramucci was sanguine about the stock market, despite its tumbling last week, saying it remains supported by strong U.S. economic data.

“The bull market is still intact,” he told attendees in the Grand Ballroom of the iconic Manhattan hotel on Fifth Avenue and Central Park. “This is a correction inside a bull market.”

SkyBridge, a funds-of-hedge funds firm with $9.6 billion of assets at the end of August, has gained about 7 percent this year, according to Scaramucci. In the rising interest rate environment, the New York-based investment firm likes structured credit such as collateralized loan obligations, he said.

CLOs buy leveraged loans, a form of high-yield debt that pays interest tied to a variable benchmark rate. This floating-rate feature can attract investors who worry about rising rates hurting bond prices.

The Federal Reserve has been gradually hiking rates in the more-than-nine-year bull market, as it seeks to keep inflation at a target of 2 percent. The central bank’s tightening of monetary policy has also led to some jitters in the equities markets.

In response to a question about the stock market sell-off, Trump told reporters last week in Pennsylvania that the Fed “has gone crazy,” saying he disagreed with what the central bank is doing.

Scaramucci said Trump is a “shock-jock” president who “shoots first” and asks no questions later, but then added that he doesn’t see Trump’s remarks disrupting markets.

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During a later session at the summit, SkyBridge partner and senior portfolio manager Troy Gayeski said he continues to expect “some upside” from the White House’s tax and regulatory reforms. The firm believes it’s too early to “embrace bearish strategies like CTAs,” or commodity trading advisors, he said.

While SkyBridge is not currently bearish on the market, Gayeski pointed to high-yield debt as an area where it would it be good to have some downside protection in a surprise recession.