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‘My biggest concern is how little concern there is’ — private equity titan Jim Coulter

  • The TPG co-founder says he's worried the Trump bump in the market and the economy is only setting up a bigger fall down the road.
  • "If the party goes on longer, the next day may feel worse," says Coulter.
  • TPG, with $79 billion in assets under management, was an early backer of Uber and Spotify.

Jim Coulter, the billionaire co-founder of private investment powerhouse TPG, told CNBC on Thursday he's troubled by the lack of worry among the financial heavyweights at the World Economic Forum about the stock market and the economy.

"My biggest concern is how little concern there is," said Coulter, also co-chief executive of TPG. "I think at this time in the cycle you invest in something different. You invest in companies like Uber, where the company's progress and technological progress, not the economy, will drive returns."

TPG, with $79 billion in assets under management, was an early backer in ride-hailing giant Uber and music streaming pioneer Spotify.

"As an investor, I'm concerned as we move from monetary policy to fiscal policy," Coulter said in a CNBC interview from the annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland. "I'm not commenting on the near term. I'm commenting on our view, which is three years out. If the party goes on longer, the next day may feel worse."

Coulter said he's been a buyer during the past year or so of Donald Trump's presidency, which ushered in a roaring stock market. The Dow Jones industrial average is up nearly 43 percent since the November 2016 election.

"I was clearly not as bullish as the markets turned out," Coulter acknowledged, but said he's worried the Trump bump in the market and the economy is only setting up a bigger fall down the road.

"I explained it to my son the other day. It's like you're at a party at midnight, you maybe should go home as an investor, and someone brings in some tequila," he said. "What is clear is that late in the party you don't want to drink as much tequila."

Coulter and TPG made a name for themselves in 1993, shortly after the company started, when they made a killing after buying into and turning around then-bankrupt Continental Airlines.