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Roger Altman: Why investors can't rely on conventional wisdom

Investors can't rely on conventional wisdom these days and should do their own work, Evercore's founder and executive chairman, Roger Altman, said Wednesday.

"The ability to rely on what I'll call the conventional wisdom or conventional forecasts has fallen to unprecedentedly low levels," Altman said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"Do your own work because your ability to rely on third-party forecasts, however well-intentioned the people are doing them, however smart, has diminished."

There are a number of reasons why broad forecasting has been more often wrong that right, he said, including the financialization of all markets.


For example, oil and iron ore today "are driven by financial investors much more so than the producers and ultimately the consumers … of the commodity," said Altman.

There is so much capital circling the globe at so much velocity that it is producing volatility in the commodity markets that matches the volatility of the broader financial markets, he said.

The focus on the short term is also an issue, with CEOs, investors and others looking ahead just to tomorrow, he said.

Lastly, unprecedented amounts of information are quickly becoming public in this era of social media, Altman said. That means nations like Russia and China can no longer control and manage information about their countries.

— CNBC's Linda Sittenfeld contributed to this report.