Someone call Michael Lewis! As investors the world over are running away from all things Europe, some guy is galloping right toward it.
Sure, Spain just accepted a 100 billion-euro bailout from the European Union last weekend in an aim to recapitalize its failing banks, a move that some have already argued is certain to fail. And sure, Greece’s national elections on Sunday may send the global economy into a complete tailspin if the country’s voters elect the leftist.
But Chicago-based fund manager David Herro isn't too concerned! He has more than $1 billion invested in European banks, Fortune reports. Over the past two years, Herro has even grown his stake in banks like BNP Paribas, the Bank of Ireland and others, all at at a time when Europe’s economy is going to hell -- particularly its banks.
"Eventually they're going to get these problems solved," Herro told Fortune. "If you look at the economic history of the world, problems come and problems go.”
Yep, can't think of a single time that mindset ever backfired! Anyway, if Herro wins big, it wouldn’t be the first time an investor benefitted from a counterintuitive and seemingly crazy bet. Michael Burry made a huge, famous and admittedly more pessimistic bet against the subprime mortgage market in the middle years of the 2000s, a bet hip enough to receive the Michael Lewis treatment. At the time, the subprime mortgage market appeared unstoppable. After that was proved just plain silly, Burry got rich.
In a similarly contrarian move, billionaire investor George Soros made a bearish bet on the British pound in 1992. The trade reportedly made Soros $1 billion and pushed the pound to an extreme low. He's not the only billionaire known for taking the occasional out-of-nowhere risk. Warren Buffett agreed to invest $5 billion in Bank of America last year at a time when the bank’s stock price was plunging.
But while some investors have reaped the benefits of very risky bets, the odds are stacked against Herro. MF Global’s huge bets on European debt likely plunged the firm into bankruptcy in October.Good luck to you, Herro.