My first six months at BlackRock

Gavin Lewis |27-Apr-2020

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

It’s now six months since I joined BlackRock as Head of UK Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and I’ve had an interesting experience to say the least! 

There were a range of factors that I mulled over when considering a career move, beyond the job title and responsibilities it really was a question of how well equipped any new potential employer would be to manage some significant global changes.  Upon interviewing at BlackRock I got the impression that the firm was not only managing but leading this change. 

We are in the midst of some significant societal shifts which will have huge impact on the investment management industry.  We have seen the end of the post-war order which embraced globalisation and the free movement of labour and the rise of the nation state and populism.  Demographic changes have begun to see a transfer of wealth from older workers to younger generations, whilst investors are increasingly basing buying decisions on company’s values rather than price and product alone.  As a result, Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) considerations have begun to take centre stage. 

As Head of UK LGPS I am acutely aware that our clients are wrestling with a number of these challenges as well as managing a change to their structure.  It’s now three years since the Government made the decision to pool the 89 pension schemes in England and Wales and the 8 different pools which emerged at various stages of development.  Pension Scheme officers now have the ongoing responsibility for implementing strategic asset allocation decisions whilst managing a transition to a pool structure and the pools have had to create new teams and establish relationships with their partner funds.  

At Blackrock I’m pleased there is a constant discussion about how we help our clients not only manage these near-term challenges, but also maximise opportunities and prepare for the future.   We see continued investment opportunities in active strategies, particularly for those which can differentiate and produce alpha on a consistent basis.  An increased demand for private markets encompassing; private equity, real estate, credit and infrastructure.  Index strategies will continue to play an important role in client portfolio’s but we will see increasing demand for sustainable strategies.   I also believe we will see increasing interest from clients for strategies which allocate across all these asset classes, be they liquid or illiquid, achieving a pre-determined outcome. 

I look forward to helping our clients navigate these challenging times and to speaking to you over the coming weeks and months, albeit virtually. Stay safe.

The opinions expressed are as of April 2020 and are subject to change at any time due to changes in market or economic conditions. The above descriptions are meant to be illustrative only.

Gavin Lewis
Managing Director

Gavin Lewis
Managing Director
Gavin Lewis is Managing Director at BlackRock. He is responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the UK Local Government Pension Scheme segment.
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