FMA Overview

Financial Markets Advisory (FMA) provides a differentiated range of advisory services by leveraging the firm’s capital markets, data and risk analytics, technology, and financial modeling capabilities while maintaining stringent information barriers.

BlackRock established Financial Markets Advisory (FMA) during the financial crisis in April 2008 to provide dedicated support to governments, central banks, and then financial institutions, worldwide. It was created as a distinct business within the company, separate and independent from BlackRock’s traditional asset management business. FMA has since grown to offer a wide range of services for institutions in both the public and private sector. It leverages BlackRock data and risk analytics, technology, and financial modeling capabilities while maintaining stringent information barriers and other procedures to manage potential conflicts of interest.

  • FMA advises financial institutions, regulators and government entities on their most critical and complex financial issues – from bank stress-testing to unwinding a portfolio of assets to designing and executing bond purchase programs to support to the economy. 
  • We work with senior management at these organizations, with a focus on their balance sheet and capital markets exposures as well as a wide range of other strategic, regulatory and operational challenges.
  • Our technology and analytical capabilities give us a unique ability to respond to clients in need. We leverage BlackRock’s Aladdin® technology and the firm’s sophisticated capital markets, risk analytics, data management and financial modeling capabilities to deliver results-oriented consulting and advisory services, while maintaining a stringent information barrier from the rest of the firm.
  • Since our founding, we have completed over 500 assignments for more than 280 unique clients in 37 countries.
  • Our professionals work out of all three BlackRock regions (Americas, EMEA, APAC), allowing FMA to serve clients in all locations and time zones and respond to urgent needs as they arise. For assignments demanding cross-disciplinary expertise, we unite professionals from multiple offices to deliver the most effective team for any client situation.
  • FMA provides advisory services from behind an informational barrier, separating it from the firm’s traditional portfolio management activities. This creates a conflict-avoidant environment that further serves to protect client data and proprietary information.

FMA is a distinct business within BlackRock with established policies and procedures to safeguard the sensitive nature of our client information and ensure the confidentiality of the advisory assignments entrusted to us by our clients. Since its inception in 2008, FMA’s information barriers have been reviewed and audited by numerous clients, including some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated official institutions.

Key aspects of these policies and procedures include:

  • Dedicated team – FMA consists of a dedicated group of professionals.
  • Data segregation – access to confidential FMA client data is segregated from client data of other business units.
  • Technological controls - access to FMA client information is strictly controlled through a multi-layered system permission infrastructure.
  • Need-to-know standard – Confidential information for an FMA assignment is limited to those professionals who have a “need to know” in order to service that particular assignment.
  • Operational controls – FMA leverages BlackRock technological and computer access controls that reinforce confidentiality and information barrier policies across BlackRock and which are evaluated by an independent third party in the context of BlackRock’s core asset management and BlackRock Solutions (“BRS”) businesses.  BRS undergoes an annual SSAE 18 external audit to satisfy clients’ rigorous requirements for operational controls.
  • Training and education –FMA personnel receive mandatory compliance training annually (including modules pertaining to the handling and treatment of confidential and material, non-public information), assignment-specific instructions for heightened data protection (as applicable) and are required to acknowledge annually all compliance policies and procedures applicable to them.

Moreover, in all of its businesses across the firm, BlackRock acts in a fiduciary capacity for its clients and their interests:

  • In offering asset management and advisory services, BlackRock, unlike other financial services firms, does not trade financial assets for its own account.
  • BlackRock is a highly regulated and publicly traded company that serves its clients as a fiduciary. We are guided by the principles that our clients’ interests come first, always, and that we represent each client fairly and equally.  We do not engage in proprietary trading activities that could conflict with the interests of our clients.
  • In the broker dealer model, there is a fundamental conflict of interest in that firms transact in the same financial instruments for their own account and with or on behalf of clients at the same time – a conflict which BlackRock’s business model avoids.

We believe that this unique business model is a key strength, allowing BlackRock to provide to our clients unbiased, professional advice, free from conflicts of interest.