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BlackRock Attracts Thousands to Event Focused on Institutional Investors

BlackRock |Aug 18, 2020

BlackRock Future Forum Tackles Topics Influencing Markets and Society Poll of participants reveals strong backing for equity investments, tech in particular

New York, August 18, 2020 – To help investors find their way through a host of new challenges in 2020, BlackRock convened The BlackRock Future Forum, an innovative virtual conference featuring dozens of distinguished experts and their visions for a better future.

Over 5,000 investors attended the two-day event. In addition to senior leaders across BlackRock, the 47 speakers on the agenda included CEOs from Microsoft, Cisco, Airbnb, the Mayo Clinic, NextEra Energy, Robin Hood, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and United Healthcare; Former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell; Former Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan; and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

The tone was set for the event with a discussion between Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, who discussed how changing attitudes toward globalization and advances in technology are impacting our collective future.

Mr. Fink commented, “Globalization has helped more people in society than any other economic forum. And yet it has left segments of society behind. That’s why globalization must change and evolve.

Mr. Nadella discussed how digital technology is helping businesses reimagine new business models and drive structural change, remarking: “The idea that technology can help enable business continuity has been the most important thing, and we’re starting to see some of the structural change– from new retail models, to telemedicine with AI triage.”

A series of discussions inspired participants to think about how racial inequity affects healthcare, business and society at large, and raised awareness for how corporations can take action to improve racial equity. One investor, retired Rear Admiral James Whittaker, U.S. Navy, commented:

“The most valuable parts of the BlackRock Future Forum were the breadth of the issues and the quality of the speakers. However, the most difficult and possibly the most critical issue was the coverage of the race and inequality issue. Actions must speak louder than words in the future.”

The event’s interactive features, such as a live public chat room, provided an inclusive and engaging event experience for participants and encouraged further discussion of the topics. Live polling during the sessions, with results shared instantly, revealed the issues currently top of mind for institutional investors:

  • 69% believe equities will be the best performing asset class in the coming year
  • 67% plan to overweight technology in their equities portfolios over the next year
  • The permanent shift to remote work (55%) and increased investment in risk management (37%) were seen as the most meaningful long-term impacts to asset management as a result of COVID-19
  • 33% stated that the retreat from globalism has increased their focus on active management


Commenting on the benefits of the virtual format, Zach Buchwald, BlackRock’s Head of Institutional Client Business in the U.S. and Canada, remarked: “The past few months have been a crucial time to connect with all of our clients, and a virtual event enabled us to share insights with thousands of our institutional relationships simultaneously. The live chat and polling during the sessions also allowed participants to dialogue with our client team, as well as each other. In some ways, this format provided a richer and more inclusive experience for clients than an in-person event could achieve.”

Attendees commented on the benefit of hearing civil discourse among the speakers with different political and market views, who shared their vision for a path forward, as opposed to a debate. Underpinning every discussion was a focus on the issues that matter most to investors.

As Laura Labanieh, CEO, CalTRUST, observed: “It was refreshing to hear both business and political experts engage in thoughtful discussion, and hearing different perspectives in the commentary from our peers was fascinating and beneficial.”

Since the event, more than 1,000 participants have accessed replays of the sessions on demand. Institutional investors can continue to access on-demand content for the Future Forum through a dedicated content hub, which includes recordings and transcripts of all sessions.

Through its work with institutional investors, BlackRock collectively serves hundreds of millions of individuals around the world, in pursuit of its mission to help more and more people experience financial wellbeing. As of June 30, 2020, BlackRock manages US$3.8 trillion in assets under management for institutional clients worldwide.


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