We use technology to think beyond what’s possible …. is how BlackRock, the largest investment manager in the world with $6.4 trillion in AUM, welcomes visitors to it’s homepage.
This week BlackRock and Microsoft announced a partnership to create a retirement solution investment platform with digital financial planning tools, alongside a new generation of BlackRock products that offer guaranteed retirement income.
Not entirely surprising, given that BlackRock is one of the largest stakeholders in Microsoft (as well as Facebook, Apple, and HP) and that it added Microsoft’s Peggy Johnson, EVP for stategic partnerships, to its board earlier in the year.
Peggy oversees investments through Microsoft’s VC fund, M12, which operates out of the US, Europe and Israel – and prior to this role spent 24 years at Qualcomm, including on the EC. All of this points to artificial intelligence, technology-enabled app-based retirement investing, and more.
According to the WSJ, BlackRock is planning to bundle digital and asset-management offerings through the platform, which is slated to be released in 2019.
Larry Fink and Satya Nadella commented on the partnership, in what is just the beginning of what will likely be more investment management + technology partnerships.
The move comes after BlackRock in May 2018 became an anchor investor in Acorns, the micro-investing app with almost 3.5 million accounts, back then announcing a partnership focused on improving the savings and investing behaviors of the next generation of investors. COO Rob Goldstein commented on the partnership with “Acorns is a pioneer in creating innovative ways to engage investors in a mobile-first world. By deepening our understanding of how their customers use investment technologies, we can apply those learnings across BlackRock to evolve the products we build for our distribution partners.”
Manuela Veloso, Head of AI for BlackRock as of 2018, reports into Goldstein.
Last but not least, last month BlackRock also entered into a strategic partnership with Envestnet to enhance the financial advisor experience on the digital and wealth sides.
Much more to come, sooner than later.