Contact Us

$84B Asset Manager: An Uptick In Debt Isn't A Bad Thing


After a massive post-crisis deleveraging, American households and businesses are slowly starting to increase their debt load again. While that has some analysts worried, one financial heavyweight thinks this is good news.

“If debt starts going up just a hair, people start to freak out when it’s actually a good thing,” PineBridgeInvestments global head of multi-asset investing Michael Kelly tells Business Insider. 

Kelly, whose firm manages $84B worth of assets, says after going through a five- to seven-year deleveraging cycle, "inclusive debt-to-GDP is down substantially.”


Because the overall debt-to-GDP is so much lower than pre-crisis levels, an uptick means people are borrowing money that’ll likely flow right back into the economy—thus stimulating demand, Kelly says.

It would take a "huge increase" in the ratio to get us back to problematic levels, Kelly says, and so far we’re nowhere close to doing that.


It also means the hangover of debt the crisis left in its wake—and the subsequent drag it put on spending and consumer demand—is starting to get resolved, another positive sign, Kelly says.

“It would be a problem” if we got to pre-crisis debt-to-GDP levels again, he says, “but we have a long ways to go to get to that point so a little increase isn’t a bad thing.” [BI]