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If you’re looking for evidence of how the COVID pandemic ravaged the global economy in 2020, don’t look at BlackRock.
The world’s largest asset manager demolished expectations for the final quarter of 2020 on Thursday and set a new record high for assets under management. Larry Fink’s financial behemoth saw double-digit growth in almost every category of its business in 2020, riding a resurgent stock market and an ultra-liquid environment.
BlackRock’s earnings per share of $10.18 easily beat Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $9.14 and the firm’s assets hit almost $8.7 trillion at the end of the year, up from $7.4 trillion at the end of 2019.
Covid’s volatile effect on the economy helped BlackRock to pull money into its exchange-traded funds and active funds as investors tried to beat the market. The company hauled in $391 billion of net inflows for the year, for which BlackRock collected record fees and and 11 percent growth in net revenue.
“The world faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 – many of which continue today,” Fink said in a statement accompanying the report. “Through it all, BlackRock remained steadfast in meeting the needs of all our stakeholders.”
BlackRock’s growing dominance has been an emerging theme on Wall Street, reflected in the firm’s high profile in the Biden White House where company alumni will fill key roles in top economic policy positions
Come Jan. 21, former BlackRock execs will serve as senior advisors to the president, vice president and Treasury Secretary, replacing Goldman Sachs as the Wall Street firm of choice inside the Beltway.
Those appointments come as BlackRock’s longtime voice on Capitol Hill, co-founder Barbara Novick, steps aside after announcing her retirement on Wednesday.
Fink struck a philosophical tone on a call with analysts on Thursday, musing that the pandemic’s damage on the global economy has exacerbated inequality and created unprecedented monetary policies that will force investors to “fundamentally rethink” how they allocate their capital in the future.
The billionaire money manager concluded that their thinking will inevitably involve BlackRock.