FWD:THINK

Investor Summit Highlights

In early May, institutional clients and BlackRock thought leaders gathered in Toronto for FWD:THINK, a conference on the future of investing.

Key takeaways:

How should investors view the current landscape for risk? How are geopolitics affecting financial markets? What are the threats, and where are the opportunities? In a wide-ranging discussion with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., gave his perspectives on those and other issues.

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Thanks to technology and the highly disruptive social and traditional media universe it has enabled, investors today are bombarded with information more quickly and in higher volume than ever before in history. Yet Rick Rieder, CIO, Global Fixed Income, BlackRock, urged attendees at the recent Canada Investor Summit to focus on the trends and forces that will affect markets over the longer term.

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Exchange Traded Funds(ETFs) are mutual funds listed on exchanges. Yet they are also much more than that, says Martin Small, Managing Director, Head of U.S. & Canada iShares®. Small contends that it’s time to think about ETFs through a different lens – one that helps explain why investors are increasingly adopting them across a range of styles, strategies and models.

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In their search for yield in a low-yield world, institutions invested heavily in real assets in the post-recession years. Now rates and inflation are on the rise. What are the implications for real assets? Cathleen Ellsworth, Managing Director, BlackRock Real Assets, Global Energy and Power, and Ben Young, Managing Director, Real Estate, discussed the new landscape– and made it clear that higher rates are only part of the picture.

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From an international investor’s perspective, China has long presented an anomaly: equity market returns there have lagged far behind that spectacular growth rate. Yet according to Jeff Shen, Managing Director, Co-CIO of Active Equity and Co-Head of Systemic Active Equity for BlackRock, the case for a fresh look at Chinese stocks – and standalone exposure to the world’s second largest equity market – is getting stronger.

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Video highlights from the conference

A Conversation with Larry Fink

Chairman and CEO