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BlackRock’s Chief Fixed Income Strategist Scott Thiel Retires

(Bloomberg) -- Scott Thiel, chief fixed-income strategist at BlackRock Inc., took an early retirement this week after a 20-year tenure that spanned the firm’s growth into the world’s biggest asset manager.

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Thiel, 57, is looking “to do something different” though he expects to be ensconced in markets, whatever his next step.

“The markets and investing have been the things that get me out of bed in the morning,” Thiel said in an interview. “My future will have to contain some of that.”

The strategist joined BlackRock in 2002 from a role at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in derivatives sales. Over the next 16 years, he helped build the fund manager’s fixed-income business before taking a leadership role at its research arm.

In his two decades at BlackRock, Thiel helped the company navigate the European debt crisis, fallout from Brexit, and the most aggressive Federal Reserve’s policy tightening in at least 40 years.

Among key calls Thiel and his colleagues made was buying Greek bonds in 2010 in the throes of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, correctly anticipating the bailout that would stabilize Greece’s economy.

More recently, BlackRock warned inflation will remain sticky and maintains that markets continue to underestimate its enduring pressures.

Read: BlackRock Says Traders Betting on Tumbling Inflation Are Wrong

In addition to his dire warnings on inflation, Thiel gained a following among colleagues during the Covid lockdown for his “song of the day” to inject some levity into a dark time. These he played at the end of each morning call, garnered from a diverse collection including the Allman Brothers, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift.

On the day Thiel left his office for the last time on March 15, the firm’s assets under management had swelled to $10 trillion from $272 billion two decades before.

Despite the firm’s sprawling presence, Thiel likens it to “a family pizza shop.”

“Everyone has their job, but if someone wasn’t around, someone else would jump in and get things done,” Thiel said.

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