Griffin, Lasry Weigh In On Economy, New Banking Rules

Apr 28 2010 | 7:35am ET

Citadel Investment Group’s Kenneth Griffin may not think much of the financial regulation reforms making their way through Congress, but he’s a big fan of the government stimulus program.

Griffin told the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., that the U.S. economy will almost certainly grow this year.

“There is no doubt that the economy is going to continue to improve over the next two to three quarter,” he said. “Something significant needs to be wrong for the economy not to grow.”

What is in doubt is the longer-term future of the economy. That will be determined in part by the outcome of this week’s debate on financial regulation. Griffin has already chimed in on that matter, calling the Democrats’ use of the Goldman Sachs fraud cause to further their agenda “childish.” But he added that November’s midterm elections to Congress, in which Republicans are widely expected to make gains, will also play a big role.

“The elections this fall will determine the course of this country for years to come,” he said.

Meanwhile at the same conference another hedge fund manager is adding his voice to the criticism of the financial regulation reform bill currently stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Avenue Capital Group’s Marc Lasry said the new rules on banks and other financial institutions could weigh on hedge funds' activities and returns.

“They’re trying to limit leverage,” Lasry told the audience at the Milken Institute Global Conference. “The more they’re successful at that, you’re going to end up having less capital.”

Lasry is a top donor to Democrats. He is also the former employer of former President Bill Clinton and current U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea.

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