Alternatives are essential

As allocations grow, alternative investments play an increasingly critical role in portfolios. The need for an approach that is scalable, disciplined, integrated, technology-enabled, transparent and based on fiduciary partnership has never been greater.

Championing a new era of alternatives

Growing demand and complexity in private markets calls for a new era of alternatives to overcome long-standing hurdles for investors. We are helping to evolve the industry to overcome those challenges and defining a new kind of partnership for our clients.

Jim Barry: We have faced enormous economic challenges over the last year. And while vaccines and signs of economic recovery give us hope, we know we have a lot of economic rebuilding ahead of us. We think alternative investments have an important role to play in this rebuilding, by virtue of their adaptability and longer time horizons. My name is Jim Barry, CIO for BlackRock Alternatives.

Alternative investments were already essential when we came into the crisis—in our view, a core part of an investor’s portfolio. While investing in these longer dated illiquid investments is more complex, investors increasingly look to them as they strive to boost returns, generate incremental income, and provide diversification from the balance of the portfolio. This demand continues as these investments have shown their resilience through the pandemic and investors seek opportunities amid the dislocations Covid has caused and the trends it has accelerated.

Two of the most powerful trends we see are digitization and decarbonization. The accelerated shift to working, shopping and recreation online is having a significant impact on company business models, and we believe companies backed by private equity and debt are among those best positioned to take advantage of this. We also expect opportunities to finance restructurings of companies that have fallen into distress. The move to a greener economy has major implications.  They start in the power and energy sector, extend into the worlds of infrastructure and real estate but ultimately impact every sector and every region.  And here too, our view is that private capital is well suited to financing the changes.

A long time horizon is one reason private investments can take on these tasks. Another key factor is the ability to structure each private transaction for a specific circumstance. Because they can be manufactured to potentially limit downside risk or insulate cashflows from exposure to broader market factors, private investments can exhibit resilience as longer term trends play out.

We believe the current market environment provides significant opportunities for investors in alternatives. While the markets are competitive, we think the changes underway and the reconstruction ahead will enable significant capital to be productively deployed. We believe the most successful investors will be those with the origination capacity and reach, the underwriting rigor and discipline, and most importantly, the patience to select the assets well.

Thank you for listening.

Private markets 2021: Staying on track in a world of change

Jim Barry, BlackRock Alternatives Chief Investment Officer, comments on the importance of real assets, credit and private equity in the economic recovery, and their role in two powerful investment themes: digitization and decarbonization.

BlackRock is tomorrow’s alternatives platform

Our US$239 billion platform is designed to deliver outperformance with true partnership across a range of investment solutions in: real estate, infrastructure, private equity, credit, hedge funds and alternative solutions. We continue to innovate, leveraging our technology, our scale and our fiduciary model to better serve our clients.
Access to the best opportunities
Access to the best opportunities
Our 330-plus alternative investors supplement their networks and know-how with best-in-class ideas from BlackRock’s other 2,000-plus investors around the world.
Greater transparency
Greater transparency
We use advanced technology to help build stronger portfolios – we monitor 3,000 risk factors daily on Aladdin and 45,000 private companies on eFront.
An integrated view
An integrated view
We provide you with a *whole portfolio view*so you have a deeper understanding of how alternatives impact the rest of your portfolio.
A new standard of alignment
A new standard of alignment
Our 1,000+ member professional staff works to understand investor needs– and deliver BlackRock’s best use of skill, scale and technology to help you achieve your goals.

Alternative investment strategies


Discover leveraged finance, multi-strategy and credit solutions

BlackRock’s latest alternative investing insights

BlackRock’s latest alternative investing insights

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Mastering alternatives with the BlackRock Educational Academy (BEA)

Our education program takes you through alternative investing and how you can better understand incorporating this asset class into your portfolio. You will also learn more about opportunities across the full platform, including real estate, infrastructure, credit, private equity and hedge funds.

Explore education opportunities

Sessions now available on-demand

Unlock the full BEA video library
BlackRock clients can now login to access the full trainings on-demand. We invite you to experience the full educational academy by logging into our secure online portal.
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Meet our alternatives team

The BlackRock Alternative Investors (BAI) team of 990+ dedicated professionals partners with the firm’s multidisciplinary teams and leverages extensive company-wide resources in an effort to deliver consistent returns over the long term.

Key stats about BlackRock’s alternatives platform.


Source: BlackRock. All dollar figures are in US dollars. Number of professionals is as of September 30, 2019 and excludes contingent workers and interns. Client assets are as of September 30, 2019 and include committed capital. Client assets include currencies and commodities. Alternative credit is reported in BlackRock Alternatives. Leveraged finance is not included in the alternative client assets figure.


Edwin N. Conway
Head of BlackRock Alternative Investors
Edwin N. Conway, is responsible for BlackRock’s alternatives strategy and the delivery of the firm’s alternatives investments to institutional clients.
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Jim Barry
Chief Investment Officer, BlackRock Alternative Investors
Jim Barry, Managing Director, is the Chief Investment Officer of BlackRock Alternatives Investors (BAI) and Global Head of BlackRock Real Assets.
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