Laurence D. Fink is the founder and chief executive of the enormous investment firm BlackRock, which manages in the neighbourhood of $6 trillion of assets. That enormous hoard of financial assets–which it invests on behalf of individuals with 401(k) plans institutions such as pension funds, state and local governments, Fortune 500 companies, sovereign wealth funds, and college endowments–makes BlackRock the largest investor in the world. It gives BlackRock–and Fink himself–enormous sway in corporate boardrooms and the stock market.
When the Federal Reserve needed Wall Street’s help with its pandemic rescue mission, it went straight to Larry Fink. The BlackRock cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer has become one of the industry’s most important government whisperers. In contrast to other influential financiers who’ve built on ties to President Trump, Fink possesses a power that’s more technocratic. BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, can do the things governments need right now.
One part of the Fed’s plan is to buy bond exchange-traded funds. BlackRock itself runs ETFs under the iShares brand and could end up buying funds it manages. There are rules in place to avoid conflicts of interest—for example, it won’t charge the Fed management fees on ETF shares. “BlackRock is acting as a fiduciary to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,” says a spokesman for the company. “As such, BlackRock will execute this mandate at the sole discretion of the bank, and in accordance with their detailed investment guidelines.” Read more
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink had a stark message for a private audience: As bad as things have been for corporate America in recent weeks, they’re likely to get worse.
Mass bankruptcies, empty planes, cautious consumers and an increase in the corporate tax rate to as high as 29% were part of a vision Fink sketched out on a call this week. The message from the leader of the world’s biggest asset manager contrasts with the ebullient tones of a stock market that has snapped back from recent lows.
Even among Wall Street luminaries, Fink speaks with particular clout. He has been advising President Donald Trump on how to navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And BlackRock is playing a key role in the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize markets, helping the central bank buy billions of dollars in assets. Read more