BlackRock, Inc. is the world’s largest asset manager, boasting $10 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2023. Founded in 1988 by Larry Fink and several others, including Robert S. Kapito and Susan Wagner, BlackRock initially focused on providing asset management services with a risk management perspective. It quickly grew, aided by investments from Peter Peterson of The Blackstone Group, and by 1992, it was managing $17 billion in assets. The firm, initially known as Blackstone Financial Management, later adopted the name BlackRock.

In 1999, BlackRock went public, listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Over the years, it expanded both organically and through acquisitions, notably merging with Merrill’s Investment Managers division in 2006 and acquiring State Street Research & Management’s holding company in 2004.

BlackRock’s commitment to innovation is evident in its launch of BlackRock Solutions in 2000, which evolved into a comprehensive analytics and risk management division. The firm continued its expansion through acquisitions, such as FutureAdvisor in 2015 and eFront in 2019.

In 2010, BlackRock made a significant move by acquiring Barclays Global Investors, including its exchange-traded fund business, iShares, for $13.5 billion. This acquisition propelled BlackRock to the forefront of the ETF market.

BlackRock’s global presence is vast, with 78 offices in 38 countries and clients in 100 countries. It manages the iShares group of exchange-traded funds and is considered one of the Big Three index fund managers, alongside The Vanguard Group and State Street.

Despite its success, BlackRock has faced criticism for its investment practices, particularly regarding environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues. It has been scrutinized for investing in companies involved in fossil fuels, the arms industry, and human rights violations, while also promoting gender diversity and reducing investments in companies contributing to climate change and gun violence.

In recent years, BlackRock has played a significant role in global financial markets, managing corporate bond-buying programs for the Federal Reserve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and pioneering the launch of spot Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

In terms of finances, BlackRock’s revenue and assets under management have seen steady growth over the years, reflecting its position as a leading asset manager on the global stage. Additionally, the company has been active in mergers and acquisitions, including the recent acquisition of Global Infrastructure Partners for $12.5 billion in January 2024.


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