During his 54 years as a financial analyst, Richard X. Bove has mastered the art of attracting attention.
Through thousands of newspaper interviews, cable news and radio segments, Mr. Bove transformed a dull, statistics-driven career into a more showy career. Focusing on the economy and the inner workings of Wall Street, he often defied conventional wisdom and made enemies along the way. By his own recollection, he never declined a media request; The American Banker once called him “the country’s most quotable bank analyst.”
Last week, hours after completing a spot on Bloomberg Television, the 83-year-old announced his retirement. He took that weekend off – and then came right back. In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Bove (pronounced “Bow-way”), who goes by Dick, shared a sobering outlook on the U.S. economy and his ex. profession.
“The dollar is finished as the world’s reserve currency,” Mr. Bowe said matter-of-factly, sitting in a chair outside his home office just north of Tampa, from which he predicted that China would overtake the American economy. Will go. No other analyst would say this because, as he put it, they are “monks praying for money”, unwilling to speak on the mainstream financial system that employs them.
Many analysts are rewarded for coming up with unique but unimportant and “mysterious” ideas, he said, peppering his criticism with expletives. Mr. Bowe worked for 17 brokerage firms during his career.
As he spoke, a technician was trying to restore his home internet after his last employer, boutique brokerage Odeon Capital, shut it down on his last day.
Mr. Bove, who began his career before ATMs became common, began appearing in the media in the late 1970s, when he was a construction industry analyst and had pessimistic views on homes that did not always come to fruition.
He increasingly began to focus on high finance, giving him a front row seat to the savings and loan crisis that affected over a thousand banks in the 1980s and 1990s. He later described how the surviving banks made massive bets that led to the 2008 financial crisis and a series of new regulations.
Among Mr. Bove’s more famous calls: identifying a “powder keg” in the housing market in early 2005 (correct) and predicting that some major banks would make a rapid comeback later (incorrect). His 2013 book, “Guardians of Prosperity: Why America Needs Big Banks”, argued that a crackdown on the industry would lead to a halt in lending to small businesses.
He has now changed his stance on the primacy of US banks, especially after last spring’s regional banking crisis. He sees the offshoring of American manufacturing as the ultimate threat to the financial sector and the dollar, as “people making goods elsewhere are getting more and more control over the means of production and therefore more and more control over the world economy.” And hence greater control over wealth.”
Mr. Bove was twice fired from majors, Dean Witter Reynolds and Raymond James, for being too bullish on bank stocks. BankAtlantic, now defunct, unsuccessfully sued him over a critical 2008 research report.
The headline of a Times article about that episode referred to him as “The Loneliest Analyst”. One way that still holds true is that he supports cryptocurrencies – an area that few other financial analysts will touch – which he sees as a natural beneficiary of the dollar’s decline.
Many people on Wall Street saw Mr. Bove as an eccentric or an attention-seeker — but plenty of others listened to him. Among those paying attention was JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, whom Mr. Bove generally admires. Mr. Dimon said through a spokesman that he had read Mr. Bove’s work to the end and found it “insightful.”
Who’s clearly not a fan: Bank of America head Brian Moynihan, who hasn’t spoken to the analyst in a decade, since Mr. Bove visited the bank’s Manhattan headquarters and told executives they would be foolish to expand. Were their investment banking operations. (A spokeswoman for the bank said its head of investor relations did not remember the conversation.)
Mr Bowe now says he was wrong, and considers himself pleased that he was not invited back.
“I like being a pain sometimes,” he said, pausing for effect. “A lot of the time.”
A native of Queens who never changed his New York accent despite living in Florida for 30 years, Mr. Bove credits the longevity of his career to an independent streak that included an unwillingness to read the work of any rival analyst. Is. He readily admits that luck has also played a role, marveling at his good health despite not exercising regularly and his tendency to drink top-shelf tequila.
He said he made more than $1 million a year, but otherwise his annual salary averaged $700,000. (CEOs of the major banks he covers can be paid more than $30 million a year.) This helped him buy several timeshares and invest in a handful of unsuccessful business ventures, including one in the Tampa area now Also included are four shuttered pizza parlors.
Has he ever tried his hand at making pie?
“No, I never did,” he said. “That was the problem.”
alain delaquarriere Contributed to research.