BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has won the top ratings in a Reserve Benchmarks 2023 survey, even as the firm’s stock performance has undergone a sharp drop.
The firm gained recognition as “best overall asset manager,” ahead even of such market leaders as Goldman Sachs. But the survey does not acknowledge significant market headwinds that affect BlackRock’s performance.
BlackRock Earns Top Rank in Spite of Fluctuations
In the Reserve Benchmarks survey, respondents had to name their first, second, and third choices in the category of best overall asset manager. Plus, they offered nominees in the categories of benchmarking, equities, and fixed income.
In the survey’s methodology, firms won three points for a nomination for first place, two for second, and one for third. BlackRock came away with 29.5% of all points.
Interestingly, the survey’s highly positive assessment came out just a day after news of one of the most disappointing BlackRock performances in months.
According to Dow Jones figures released Monday, BlackRock stood at $655.74 in midday trading. Placing BlackRock on track for its lowest close since hitting $655 on May 24.
BlackRock was down for seven straight days and eight of the nine past days, Dow Jones noted. Dow Jones also reported that BlackRock had its worst seven-day stretch since March and was down 7.46% year-to-date.
A MarketWatch report highlighted BlackRock’s “underperformance” compared to rivals JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley. The first two enjoyed modest rises, of 0.49% and 0.80% respectively. The third dipped 0.31%.
“This was the stock’s seventh consecutive day of losses,” MarketWatch noted.
BlackRock Struggles With Heavy FUD
Recent days have brought positive news about BlackRock. Including reports that the asset manager may be weighing significant investments in the green energy markets of Thailand. A nation that has made investments through BlackRock’s ETF.
Thailand could well take an interest in the spot Bitcoin ETF for which regulatory approval is pending.
At the same time, BlackRock operates in the shadow of a House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party probe into its dealings in China. And the inflow of capital to firms that play a role in abetting Chinese Communist Party oppression and misrule.
As things stand now, the probe is just that: a probe. Not an indictment.
But enabling investments in state-owned or partly state-owned firms that help prop up a regime in Beijing known for its contempt for human rights has proved not to be the most brilliant PR strategy ever devised.
BlackRock’s belated decision to shut down its China Flexible Equity Fund as of November 7 may not have reassured anyone.
ESG Investing at the Expense of Fiduciary Duty
And last month, an August 4, 2022, letter bearing the signatures of 19 US senators, and including BlackRock of violating its fiduciary duties to investors, became public.
Addressed directly to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, the letter poses serious questions about BlackRock’s enforcement of environmental criteria. Part of a progressive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda.
In the senators’ view, BlackRock has exerted undue pressure on other companies. Trying to force them to adhere to protocols that non-US bodies have put in place.
“[BlackRock] has used citizens’ assets to pressure companies to comply with international agreements such as the Paris Agreement that force the phase-out of fossil fuels, increase energy prices, drive inflation, and weaken the national security of the United States,” the letter states.
Learn more about the controversies over BlackRock’s investment policies and its broader stance toward the world.
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